A Majority of Voters Support Calls for a Cease-Fire in Gaza
Despite resistance from the White House, a 53% majority of voters support calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.
While 3 in 5 Democratic voters approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the share of those who disapprove has increased 8 percentage points since the days following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Independents have also become 9 points more likely to disapprove of Biden’s handling of the issue during that period.
Meanwhile, the outpouring of sympathy toward the Israelis following the events of Oct. 7 appears to be subsiding as Israel’s retaliatory campaign continues. The share of voters who sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians has declined 7 points since mid-October, while the share who sympathize equally with both sides has increased 6 points during that period.
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While the Biden administration refuses to directly call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, a new Morning Consult survey shows that such a move would be popular with a majority of the U.S. electorate.
Our Nov. 17-19 survey also documents several shifts in public sentiment from last month: More Democratic voters are expressing dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict, young people are becoming more sympathetic to the Palestinians and older voters are giving more thought to people on both sides.
A Majority of Voters Back Calls for a Cease-Fire in Gaza
There’s substantial support for a cease-fire across the political spectrum. A 53% majority of voters support calls for a truce, including 2 in 3 Democrats, more than half of independents and a plurality of Republicans.
Our survey also shows that more Democratic voters are becoming dissatisfied with Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the outpouring of sympathy toward Israel following Hamas’ horrific Oct. 7 attack appears to be fading. The shift comes as Biden has sought a temporary pause in the fighting in the hopes of reaching a deal with Hamas to free hostages.
Democratic Dissatisfaction With Biden’s Handling of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is Rising
While 3 in 5 Democratic voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the share of those who disapprove has increased 8 percentage points since our survey conducted Oct. 10-12. Independents have also become 9 points more likely to disapprove of Biden’s handling of the issue during that period.
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Along with the souring among Democrats, Biden has also seen a huge decline in sentiment about his handling of the conflict among America’s youngest voters. For Gen Z voters, Biden’s net approval on the issue has plummeted 30 points since the start of the conflict, while declines among older generations have been much more modest.
This comes as younger Americans — both Gen Zers and millennials — are becoming more sympathetic toward the Palestinians as the war continues.
Younger Voters Are Driving an Uptick in Sympathy for Palestinians
Over the course of about a month, the share of Gen Z voters who said they are most sympathetic toward the Palestinians more than doubled (from 11% to 24%), while the share who expressed the most sympathy toward the Israelis declined 11 points (from 29% to 18%).
Among the overall electorate, Americans are only slightly more likely to express more sympathy for the Israelis than both sides equally (34% to 32%). The share of voters who sympathize equally with both sides has increased 8 points from mid-October, including 13 points among baby boomers.
The bottom line
Aside from the political challenge presented by Biden’s weakening support among Democrats and younger people, the latest data suggests that the administration and Israel supporters have work to do in making the case to the American people for extended involvement in the latest war with Hamas.
This challenge is only heightened by generational divides, with younger Americans being far less likely to frame the conflict as their older peers who have lived through decades of it do. The public’s increasing sympathy for the Palestinians — or at least its willingness to acknowledge pain on both sides of the fighting — suggests that Americans’ unbridled support for Israel may not be a certain thing.
This finding, coupled with our survey earlier this month showing that more voters prioritize international humanitarian aid efforts for civilians affected by war than spending on Israel’s military, reveals relatively weak political pressure among the U.S. electorate for helping Israel’s war effort.
Instead, there is far more public interest in seeing Congress focus on domestic priorities — something that is far more likely to weigh on the president’s re-election prospects come next November.
Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].