Poll: Americans Don’t Want Congress to Boycott Bibi

February 12, 2015  

Americans think that it was a breach of protocol for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to invite Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress the way he did, but they still want members of Congress to attend Netanyahu’s speech, a HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.

The poll found a 23-point margin in favor of those who said that it is inappropriate for a member of Congress to invite a foreign leader to speak in the U.S. without first consulting with the White House, and a 17-point margin in favor of those who said that Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu, specifically, was inappropriate.

There is controversy over whether or not Boehner informed the White House of the invitation before Netanyahu accepted it, but the poll appears to have accepted the claim that Obama was not consulted.

Despite this, though, 46% said that their member of Congress should attend Netanyahu’s speech, while just 24% said they shouldn’t, with another 30% unsure.

Fifty-eight percent said President Barack Obama should meet with Netanyahu, with only 19% opposed and 23% were not sure. Obama has said that he will not meet Netanyahu, ostensibly because the visit in early March is too close to Israel’s elections.

A number of Democrats in Congress have said they will not attend the prime minister’s speech. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that he and more than 20 other members of Congress had signed a letter to Boehner urging him to postpone the speech until US diplomatic negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are complete.

Democrats said by a 9 point margin that their representative should avoid the Netanyahu speech, while Republicans said by an identical margin that their representative should attend.

The public is about evenly divided on whether Obama or congressional Republicans do a better job of handling U.S.-Israel relations, with 24% naming Obama, 26% the Republican party, and the other 50% unsure or saying neither is better.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 4-8 among US adults.

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