Lawyers Reading Charts?

John Hinderaker at Powerline has an interesting chart on support for Israel but he needs better data analysis.  He is right when he says that Republicans are more likely to favor Israel versus the Palestinians but he has his trends confused.  What the chart shows is that the GOP has substantially increased its support for Israel.  Here is what Hinderaker says, in part, about the chart:

Currently, fewer than 50% of Democrats say that they sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians. The sharp drop in the past year presumably is due to President Obama’s open feud with Prime Minister Netanyahu. What is striking to me is that the divide between the parties predates the Obama administration. In 2001, the parties were equal in their support for Israel, as Democratic sympathy jumped sharply. But after 2001, Republican support for Israel rose rapidly, while Democratic sympathy declined and then leveled off. The current divide between the parties–83% GOP support vs. 48% Democratic–is basically a continuation of that trend.

In 2001 it was Democrat = 35 and GOP = 53.  Now it is 48 and 83, respectively.  Clearly, the GOP has come to favor Israel by an increasing amount than the Democrats but both have increased from 2001, as have the independents.

Perhaps he meant 1988 where both parties were at (or nearly, the chart doesn’t give both numbers) 47% support.  Since then the Democrats have gone up and down but end in 2015 at 48% so “declined and leveled off” doesn’t describe it.  It is a trivial difference from where they started in 1988 and up substantially (but not as much as the GOP) since 2001.  The independents almost mimic the Democrats from 1988 to 2014 and then diverge in the last year putting the independents up for the period at 59.  The GOP diverged from the Democrats and independents starting in 1989.  They have always been the highest of the three starting in 1989,  In 2014 they were about 25 percentage points more in favor of Israel than the other two groups.  In 2015 it grew to a 35 point difference  between GOP and Democrats but narrowed trivially to 24 for independents and GOP.

What has happened that the GOP has become more supportive of Israel while the rest of the electorate is bouncing around pretty much where it has been.  The Republicans have become the partisans for Israel.  Good for them.