President Joe Biden has been receiving mixed reviews from Americans about his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Biden's critics on this matter include many pro-Israel Republicans, but also a number of pro-Palestinian Democrats.
YouGov has surveyed Americans about the Israel-Hamas war since it broke out last month, and on Nov. 8 - 9 surveyed more than 12,000 Americans to take a closer look at opinions on this issue.
More Americans sympathize with the Israelis than the Palestinians
Overall, 37% of Americans say they sympathize more with the Israelis in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, compared to 15% who sympathize more with the Palestinians. Another 27% sympathize about equally with both sides, and 21% are not sure.
Republicans are much more likely to sympathize with the Israelis. Sympathies for the Palestinians are more common among young people and Democrats.
Most Americans who support the Palestinians disapprove of how Biden's handling the war
Among Americans who say their sympathies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lie mostly with the Palestinians, 60% say they strongly or somewhat disapprove of Biden on the issue of the Israel-Hamas war, while 31% strongly or somewhat approve. That's a high disapproval rate, especially for a group that leans left (48% of Palestinian sympathizers identify as liberal or very liberal, compared to 14% who are conservative or very conservative). By way of comparison, the share of Republicans who disapprove of Biden's job handling the war is 56%, compared to 30% approving.
Biden gets more support on his handling of the war from Americans who are more sympathetic to Israel (47% approve and 44% disapprove), and from those who are equally sympathetic to Israel and the Palestinians (53% approve and 30% disapprove).
Approval of Biden's handling of the war is higher among 18- to 29-year-olds (45% approve, 30% disapprove) than among any other age bracket.
Pro-Palestinian groups and politicians in the U.S. have criticized Israel for killing civilians in its operations in the Gaza Strip, and criticized Biden for being too supportive of Israel.
Around 9% of Americans both sympathize more with the Palestinians and disapprove of how Biden's handling the war
Americans disapprove of Biden's job on the Israel-Hamas war for different reasons. 9% of Americans disapprove of Biden on the war and sympathize more with the Palestinians. That compares to another 16% of Americans who disapprove of Biden's handling of the war but sympathize mostly with Israel.
This latter group of pro-Israel Biden critics are mostly Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents.
Among the 21% of Democrats who disapprove of Biden's handling of the war, 51% say they're pro-Palestinian and 10% favor the Israelis. In contrast, among the 56% of Republicans who disapprove, 63% favor the Israelis and 8% favor the Palestinians.
Pro-Palestinian support is more common among younger Americans
Nationwide, 15% of Americans sympathize more with the Palestinians, less than half the 37% who sympathize more with the Israelis.
But among adults under 30, the split is nearly even: 26% support Israel and 24% the Palestinians.
Younger people are more likely to support the Palestinians than older people, regardless of political identity. For example, 31% of Democrats under 30 support the Palestinians, compared to 10% of Democrats 65 or older. 18% of Republicans under 30 are pro-Palestinian, while just 2% of Republicans 65 or older are.
Pro-Israeli young Americans approve of how Biden's handling the war
Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are the age group most likely to support Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war, with 45% approving and 30% disapproving. That's true even though many young people are pro-Palestinian, a group with many critics of Biden's approach to the war.
While young people are more likely to support the Palestinians than older people are, large shares of young people say they sympathize with the Israelis or equally with both sides. And young people who don't identify as Palestinian supporters are much more favorable about Biden's performance.
Among the 24% of young people who support the Palestinians, 33% approve of Biden's handling of the war and 57% disapprove. But among the 26% of young people who support the Israelis, 77% approve of Biden's handling of the war and 15% disapprove.
Biden's handling of the war gets support from not only 90% of pro-Israeli young Democrats, but also majorities of pro-Israeli Independents and even pro-Israeli Republicans.
— Taylor Orth and Carl Bialik contributed to this article
Methodology: This Daily Questions survey was conducted online on November 8 - 9, 2023 among 12,396 U.S. adults. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.
See results of this poll:
- In the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict, are your sympathies more with...?
- Do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling the Israel‑Hamas war?
- Do you think that Hamas' attack on Israel was justified or not justified?