Ariel Shalit / AP
Two-thirds of Americans say that the United States should openly support Israel in the war between Israel and Hamas, according to a report published by the American newspaper, The Washington Post. The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist pollBut there are wide generational and ethnic divisions on this issue.
At this point, more Americans, but not a majority, believe that the Israeli response was appropriate, although a significant number of participants worry that the war will spill over into a broader regional conflict.
Seven out of ten Americans said they paid close attention to the war. Although most people agree that the United States should publicly support Israel, President Biden — who has expressed strong public support for the Jewish nation — does not benefit politically.
The poll of 1,313 adults was conducted on Wednesday, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points, meaning the results could be about 4 points lower or higher. Respondents were reached by telephone using face-to-face interviews, via text message, or online.
Overall, 65% said the United States should publicly support Israel. This was true for large majorities of both parties – 77% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats.
Notably, independents were less likely to believe this — 54% thought the United States should publicly support Israel, but a third said the United States should not say or do anything.
But there are large age and racial gaps — 78% of those 45 and older believe the United States should take an openly pro-Israel stance, but only 48% of those under 45 say so.
This is especially true for the youngest Americans eligible to vote — only 48% of Gen Z/Millennials say the United States should publicly express its support, compared to 63% of Gen /The greats. generation.
On racial grounds, only 51% of non-whites said that the United States should take such a public position in support of Israel, while 72% of whites believed that it should.
Fears of the spread of war
Eight out of ten said they were concerned that a war between Israel and Hamas would lead to a broader conflict in the Middle East.
It is worth noting that there is a large gender gap here. Women were 16 points more likely to worry about the spread of conflict (87%) than men (71%).
Israel’s response so far
At this point, more Americans say Israel’s response was correct – 44% say so.
However, about a quarter said this was exaggerated, and nearly a quarter said it was too much a little.
Democratic men were most likely to say Israel’s response was too much (44%), followed by those living in major cities (41%), those under 45 (37%), and Biden supporters (37%).
On the other hand, white men without college degrees (45%), Republican men (44%), white evangelical Christians (40%), and Donald Trump supporters (39%) were most likely to say this amount is too little.
A small majority say that American support for Israel has made the region safer
By a margin of 53%-41%, respondents said they believe US support for Israel makes the Middle East safer.
But there are some notable deviations, especially among younger Americans. Generation Z/Millennials were the only group tested where a majority (54%) said US support for Israel makes the region more dangerous.
Here again, there was a racial divide. By a margin of 49% to 42%, non-whites said that American support for Israel makes the region more dangerous. Whites were 17 points more likely than non-whites to say that American support for Israel makes the region safer.
However, it is noteworthy that 36% of Republicans also said they believe the country’s support for Israel makes the Middle East more dangerous. This is a large segment, given the sharp divisions between the parties on many other issues.
Biden does not benefit politically
There is certainly no effect of rallying around the flag for Biden at this point.
Americans so far are unimpressed with the way the president has handled himself during this war – despite his strong show of public support for Israel, with two-thirds of them saying they want a strong show of American public support.
Biden has arguably taken a stronger pro-Israel stance than almost any other US president, but 52% said they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the conflict.
This appears to reflect how sharp the political divide is in the United States at this moment, as this disapproval number is identical to Biden’s overall job approval rating.
Self-declared Democrats are largely in Biden’s corner — 86% approve of the job he’s doing as president. But he drops 9 points with his party when it comes to its handling of the war between Israel and Hamas.
He continues to struggle with independents (32% approve of his job performance overall) and those under 45 (41%).
Even among groups that supported him in the past, he is not popular. Only 45% of non-whites approve of the work he does, 21 points below He was with the group in the Marist poll shortly after he was elected to office.
These three groups are the main groups that Biden needs on his side if he hopes to be re-elected.
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