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Americans are losing confidence in Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu awaits the start of an Israeli War Cabinet meeting, also attended by US President Joe Biden, on October 18, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel.  (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu awaits the start of an Israeli War Cabinet meeting, also attended by US President Joe Biden, on October 18, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

A majority of Americans (53%) have little or no confidence in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do the right thing on world affairs, including 25% who have no confidence in him not at all. Three in 10 say they have at least some trust in him, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 3,600 U.S. adults conducted April 1 to 7, 2024.

A divergent bar chart shows that the share of Americans without confidence in Netanyahu has increased since 2023.

The share of Americans who do not trust Netanyahu has increased by 11 percentage points since 2023. This includes an 8 point increase in the stock that has no confidence in him at all.

This shift is linked to a change in Netanyahu’s consciousness. In 2023, about a quarter of Americans (26%) said they had never heard of him, but that share has fallen to 15% this year.

Pew Research Center analyzed Americans’ attitudes toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of our broader survey of trust in world leaders. Most of the data used in this analysis comes from a survey of 3,600 American adults conducted between April 1 and 7, 2024. Data on Israeli government positions comes from a survey of 12,693 American adults conducted between April 13 and February 25, 2024.

Everyone who took the April survey is a member of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel recruited through a national, random sample of residential addresses. In this way, almost all American adults have a chance of selection. Read more about the ATP methodology.

Most respondents from the February survey (10,642) are members of the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. The remaining 2,051 respondents are members of three other survey panels – Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, SSRS’s Opinion Panel and NORC of the University of Chicago’s AmeriSpeak Panel – who were interviewed because they identify as Jewish or Muslim.

The February survey “oversampled” (i.e. interviewed a disproportionately large number of) Jews and Muslims to provide a more reliable assessment of their views on the topics covered in the survey. But these groups are not overrepresented in the reported national estimates, as we corrected for the oversample in the data weighting.

Both surveys are weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, religious affiliation, and other categories.

Here you will find the questions used for this analysis along with the answers, as well as the February survey methodology and the April survey methodology.

Americans’ views of Netanyahu vary by party and by certain demographic factors:

Partisanship

A divergent bar chart shows that Democrats have much less confidence in Netanyahu than Republicans.

Republicans and Republican independents have a much more positive view of Netanyahu than Democrats and Democratic supporters. About half of Republicans (51%) say they have at least some confidence in him to do the right thing on world affairs, while only 13% of Democrats say the same. Many more among Democrats say they have no confidence in him not at all (38%) then indicate that they even have some confidence in him.

Conservative Republicans (62%) are twice as likely as moderate and liberal Republicans (31%) to say they have at least some confidence in Netanyahu. Conservative and moderate Democrats (17%) also express more confidence than liberals (7%).

There are also age differences between partisans. For example, Republicans aged 50 and older have much more confidence in Netanyahu than younger Republicans (69% versus 33% have at least some confidence). Among Democrats, the age differences are more modest: 16% of older Democrats have confidence in the Israeli prime minister, compared to 10% of younger Democrats.

The share has been reflected among both Republicans and Democrats little or no trust in Netanyahu has increased since last year. However, the shift among Democrats (+15 points) has been three times as large as the shift among Republicans (+5 points).

Age

A line chart shows that awareness of Netanyahu among young American adults has increased since 2023.

Older Americans are significantly more likely than younger people to have a positive view of Netanyahu. About four-in-ten Americans age 50 and older (42%) have at least some confidence in him to do the right thing on world affairs. That compares with about a quarter of those aged 30 to 49 and only 13% of adults under 30.

The youngest American adults have become more negative toward Netanyahu since last year. The share of adults under 30 who have this little or no trust in Netanyahu has risen from 37% then to 55% today. This is partly related to the 20-point decline in the share of young adults who say they have never heard of Netanyahu.

Positions of the Israeli government

American views of the Israeli government have also become more negative since 2022, according to a Center survey conducted in February. About four-in-ten Americans (41%) have a positive view of the Israeli government, up from 47% in 2022 and similar to the share who said this in 2019. Interestingly, the 2022 survey was the only one that took place. when Netanyahu was not yet in power.

As with Netanyahu, when it comes to evaluations of the Israeli government, Republicans have much more favorable views than Democrats (63% versus 24% favorable), and older Americans have more positive views than younger ones.

Note: These are the questions used for this analysis, along with the answers, as well as the February survey methodology and the April survey methodology.