How Americans view the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars

David MontgomerySenior data journalist
November 09, 2023, 6:10 PM GMT+0

Americans see the major wars under way in the Gaza Strip and Ukraine as affecting the United States, but are divided about what role the U.S. should play in these conflicts.

A majority of U.S. adult citizens say they sympathize more with Ukraine (64%) than with Russia, compared to 3% who sympathize more with Russia, according to the latest Economist/YouGov poll. In the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 40% of Americans say their sympathies are more with Israel, while 12% back the Palestinians.

There's a nearly even split between the 38% of Americans who say the U.S. has a responsibility to do something about the Israel-Hamas war and the 37% who say it does not. Slightly more Americans say the U.S. doesn't have a responsibility to do something about the Russia-Ukraine war (43%) than say the U.S. does (34%).

Overall, 34% of U.S. adult citizens see both wars as threatening the U.S. equally, while 24% say the Israel-Hamas war poses a bigger threat, and 18% say the Russia-Ukraine war does. 11% say neither war threatens the U.S.

There is a partisan split on these overseas conflicts. Republicans are much more likely to say the Israel-Hamas war threatens the U.S. more, with 37% naming that conflict compared to 9% who name the Russia-Ukraine war. Meanwhile 30% of Democrats say the Ukraine war is a bigger threat compared to 17% who name the fighting in Israel.

There's no consensus about whether the U.S. should aid participants in these wars — or about which participants the U.S. should help. 24% of U.S. adults support increasing military aid to Israel, compared to 23% who would reduce that aid and 28% who would keep it the same. Humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is slightly more popular, with 26% in favor of more and 21% wanting less.

Democrats are more likely to support giving more humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, while Republicans are more supportive of increasing military aid to Israel.

Americans are slightly more likely to support reducing military aid to Ukraine (31%) than to want to increase it (23%). Another 27% want to keep aid at the same level.

Opposition to Ukraine aid is concentrated among Republicans, 50% of whom want to decrease military assistance. 14% of Republicans would increase military aid to Ukraine. Among Democrats, increasing aid is more popular (38%) than decreasing it (12%). Independents are more likely to support reducing aid than increasing it, 31% to 17%.

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on November 5 - 7, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty