Netanya-Who?
© Getty Images

Almost 1 in 4 Americans have never heard of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Twenty-three percent of the poll’s respondents claimed they had never heard of the Israeli leader, according to the survey, which was released on Friday.

The poll’s results come just before Netanyahu arrives in the United States, where he will address a joint session of Congress Tuesday afternoon. The speech has been deeply controversial because he was invited by Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerZeal, this time from the center Juan Williams: The GOP's deal with the devil Hillicon Valley: Trump hits China with massive tech tariffs | Facebook meets with GOP leaders over bias allegations | Judge sends Manafort to jail ahead of trial | AT&T completes Time Warner purchase MORE (R-Ohio), who did not inform the White House in advance.

ADVERTISEMENT
Pew’s survey found that thirty-eight percent of Americans viewed Netanyahu favorably before the speech, while twenty-seven percent viewed him unfavorably. The remaining thirty-five percent — including the nearly one quarter of Americans who did not recognize him — expressed no opinion on his visit.

National security adviser Susan Rice called Netanyahu’s visit “destructive” to U.S.-Israel relations on Wednesday. More than two dozen Democrats are boycotting Netanyahu’s address, according to a Whip List compiled by The Hill.

The Pew poll found that opinions of Netanyahu are split along partisan lines. Among Republican voters, fifty-three percent view Netanyahu favorably, while twenty-one percent do not; another twenty-six percent have no opinion. Among Democratic voters, twenty-eight percent view him favorably and thirty-eight percent unfavorably; the remaining thirty-seven percent had no opinion.

Netanyahu will also speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on Monday. The group, normally supportive of Israel’s government, is reportedly divided over his congressional address.

Pew’s poll surveyed 1,504 adults from Feb. 18-22.