Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent address to the US Congress was a hot ticket in Washington, but the speech did no favors for his reputation in America. According to a Gallup poll, the Israeli prime minister’s “favorable” rating among the American public fell by 7 percentage points after his address, while the number of people with an “unfavorable” assessment of him rose by 5 percentage points.
Netanyahu’s popularity in the US had been on the rise in recent years, and his March 3 speech in the House chamber was decidedly pro-American, peppered with phrases such as “[t]hank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.” He took a hard line against Iran, criticizing a planned nuclear deal sought by the Obama administration. But the fiery rhetoric failed to impress.
Many Congressional Democrats were opposed to the speech even before it happened, anticipating it would try to undermine the administration’s negotiation efforts, and because they saw it as a breach of protocol by House speaker John Boehner, who didn’t give the administration advance notice of the invitation.
Netanyahu’s favorability ratings predictably fell among Democrats and those who lean Democrat, but despite the very warm reception Netanyahu got from congressional Republicans, the speech did little to boost his image with Republican voters, or those who lean Republican.
Meanwhile, in Israel, Netanyahu’s party is losing steam just a week before the election.