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Most Americans Favor End To U.S. Foreign Aid To Middle East, Except Israel

Friday, February 25, 2011

Egypt has long been the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, but despite its apparent turn toward democracy and similar ongoing moves in neighboring countries, most Americans want to end that aid to all Arab nations in the Middle East. Just over half favor continuing foreign aid to the number one recipient, Israel.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that only 20% of American Adults think the United States should continue providing foreign aid to Arab countries in the Middle East. Fifty-eight percent (58%) say that aid should come to an end. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans, on the other hand, favor continued foreign aid to Israel. One-in-three adults (32%) oppose further aid for Israel, while another 17% are undecided about it.

New Republican Senator Rand Paul has called for an end to all foreign aid, including the $3 billion the United States gives annually to Israel, as part of a package of deep spending cuts he is proposing. But given Israel’s strong bipartisan support in Congress, Paul’s proposal isn’t likely to gain ground. Egypt has been receiving slightly less than $2 billion in aid annually, with several other Arab countries in the region getting a smattering of millions. 

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Americans think the United States should stay out of the ongoing political unrest in Libya and other Arab nations, but only 29% think a change of government in any of these countries will be good for America.  In fact, most Americans now fear that the political unrest roiling these countries may get this country into another big war.

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The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on February 21-22, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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