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Israelis think Trump better for them, back Clinton anyway – poll

Survey contrasts with findings among dual citizens who voted in the election, who leaned toward the GOP candidate

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during their presidential debate on September 26, 2016 (CNN screenshot)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during their presidential debate on September 26, 2016 (CNN screenshot)

A day before Americans head to the polls to elect a new president, a survey published Monday reinforced findings that a clear majority of Israelis prefer Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her Republican rival, Donald Trump.

The poll, commissioned by Army Radio and conducted by Shiluv Millward Brown, found 41 percent of Jewish Israelis favored the former secretary of state, while just 31% said they preferred Trump.

Some 7% of respondents said they supported neither candidate, and 21% said they had no preference as to should be elected to the While House. The poll was taken on November 5. The report on the data did not indicate the poll’s margin of error or the number of respondents.

Asked who was the better candidate for Israel, however, 37% of respondents said a Trump administration would benefit the Jewish state more, as opposed to 30% who answered Clinton.

The results of Monday’s poll are in keeping with previous surveys conducted in Israel that appear to indicate the bid to drum up local support for Trump, with promises of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and not necessarily pushing for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, has largely failed to make a dent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New York, September 25, 2016 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in New York, September 25, 2016 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

In September, Trump’s Israel adviser took to Channel 10 to reassure Israelis that, if elected, the GOP candidate would not seek to impose a two-state solution and would back the Jewish state in “any path it chooses.”

Less than a month later, a survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University indicated that a majority of Israelis (57.2%) believed that although Clinton would apply greater pressure on Israel to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians than Trump, they overwhelmingly supported her. Of 600 Israelis polled on October 5 and 6, some 41.8% said they preferred Clinton over Trump at 23.9%.

Last week, a survey conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute similarly found that 49% of Israelis wanted Clinton to win the presidential election, while just 32% preferred Trump.

Unsurprisingly, that survey further indicated that Israelis who identify with right-wing parties in Israel tended to back the GOP candidate: Only 39% of Likud voters expressed a preference for Clinton, compared to 44% for Trump. Over 50% of the nationalist Jewish Home party voters polled said they preferred Trump, whereas just over 30% said they preferred Clinton as the next US president.

In the political center there was a clear preference for Clinton over Trump: 84% of center-left Zionist Union voters and 58% of the center-right Yesh Atid party voters backed the Democrat, compared to just 7% and 23% for Trump, respectively.

Ultra-Orthodox men hold placards supporting US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at an event held by republicans Overseas Israel in Jerusalem, October 26, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox men hold placards supporting US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at an event held by republicans Overseas Israel in Jerusalem, October 26, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In contrast, an “exit survey” conducted last week by voter registration group I Vote Israel indicated that Israeli-Americans slightly preferred Trump — 49% to Clinton’s 44% — among 1,140 dual citizens who had actually cast votes for the November 8 elections.

Though Trump has previously claimed he would be “neutral” and not choose sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has also endorsed Israel’s settlement enterprise and a partial Israeli annexation of the West Bank, and said that US President Barack Obama “has been extremely bad” for Israel.

During his campaign, Trump also claimed the Iranian nuclear deal was “going to destroy Israel — unless I get elected,” the Columbus Dispatch reported. “Then Israel will be just fine.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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