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Support for Gaza Cease-Fire Is on the Rise

Nearly 3 in 5 voters (59%) support calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, up from 53% in mid-November
Shares of voters who said they support or oppose calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war
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Surveys conducted Nov. 17-19 and Dec. 14-16, 2023, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, including at least 428 voters from each of the subgroups shown, with unweighted margins of error of between +/-2 and +/-4 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

December 20, 2023 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • Increased backing for a truce came from across the partisan spectrum, but most notably from Republican voters, 53% of whom now support a cease-fire — up 11 percentage points over the past month. 

  • Since early October, the share of voters who said they are more sympathetic toward the Israeli people has fallen from 41% to 33%, while the share who said they feel for both the Israelis and Palestinians equally has increased from 26% to 34%. 

  • Last week, President Joe Biden warned that public opinion toward Israel “can shift overnight” if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government doesn’t work to limit civilian casualties, and our data suggests it’s already moving. This increases the urgency for Israel’s advocates on Capitol Hill — and the pressure on Netanyahu — to win passage of a war assistance package in the coming weeks when Congress returns from the holiday recess.

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The American public appears to be losing more patience with Israel's war in Gaza. 

According to our latest survey, nearly 3 in 5 voters (59%) support calls for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, up from 53% in mid-November. Increased backing for truce came from across the partisan spectrum, but notably from Republican voters, 53% of whom now support a cease-fire — up 11 percentage points over the past month. 

The survey was conducted after fighting and casualties had intensified following the end of last month’s American-brokered humanitarian pause, which allowed for the release of some hostages. But as the death toll among Palestinian civilians climbs, the Biden administration is pressing Israel’s government to transition its war effort to a more limited military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. 

Last week, President Joe Biden warned that public opinion toward Israel “can shift overshift”  if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government doesn’t work harder to limit civilian casualties. While a shift in voters’ sentiment has been more gradual and not necessarily anti-Israel, Americans are far more likely to express equal sympathy for both Israelis and Palestinians than they were at the start of the conflict.

Voters’ Sympathy for Israelis Has Declined Since the Start of the Israel-Hamas War

Shares of voters who said they are more sympathetic toward each of the following:
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Surveys conducted in 2023, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, including at least 428 voters from each of the subgroups shown, with unweighted margins of error of between +/-2 and +/-4 percentage points.

Since early October, the share of voters who said they are more sympathetic toward the Israeli people has fallen from 41% to 33%, while the share who said they feel for both the Israelis and Palestinians equally has increased from 26% to 34%. 

Specific demographics at scale: Surveying thousands of consumers around the world every day powers our ability to examine and analyze perceptions and habits of more specific demographics at scale, like those featured here.

Why it matters: Leaders need a better understanding of their audiences when making key decisions. Our comprehensive approach to understanding audience profiles complements the “who” of demographics and the “what” of behavioral data with critical insights and analysis on the “why.”

The movement was largest among Democratic voters, which appears to have caused some political problems for Biden among swing-state voters, particularly the youngest ones. But even among Republican voters, who belong to a party that has traditionally worked to cast itself as a greater friend of Israel, under half (47%) said they’re more sympathetic with the Israelis, down from 55% at the start of the war. 

The bottom line

For now, the bulk of the public (49%) is supportive of ongoing efforts to provide military aid such as weapons, training and troop support to Israel, but that figure is down from 53% in mid-October. Over the same period, the share of voters who said the United States should provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinisans has increased from 57% to 63%.

All of these data points suggest Biden is right that public opinion could shift on Israel — it’s already happening. This increases the urgency for Israel’s advocates on Capitol Hill to win passage of a war assistance package in the coming weeks when Congress returns from the holiday recess, and suggests Netanyahu may need to heed Biden’s calls to focus Israel’s war effort to maintain widespread support from his country’s closest ally. 

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

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].

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