The difference between the proportion of Republicans and Democrats who sympathise with Israel over the Palestinians is the largest it has been in surveys dating to 1978, according to a new report.

While 74 percent of Republicans sympathise more with Israel than the Palestinians, the number is 33 percent for Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted between January 4-9 and published on Thursday.

Eleven percent of Republicans sympathise with the Palestinians over Israel, and 15 percent sympathise with neither, both sides or did not express a view. Among Democrats, those numbers were 31 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The findings represent the first time in surveys conducted by Pew that Democrats were about as likely to sympathise with the Palestinians as with Israel. Among “liberal Democrats,” 38 percent of respondents sympathised more with the Palestinians while 26 percent sympathised more with Israel.

The proportion of Republicans sympathising more with Israel has risen since 1978 while it has fallen for Democrats. In that year, 49 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats sympathised more with the Jewish state, according to data from the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations obtained by Pew.

A majority of Democrats, 60 percent, said there is a way for Israel and a Palestinian state to coexist peacefully, while less than half of Republicans, 44 percent, believed that to be possible, the new Pew survey found.

A higher proportion of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents viewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favourably, 50 percent, than did their Democratic and Democratic-leaning counterparts, 21 percent.