Most Americans oppose Israel’s war in Gaza, poll finds

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Most Americans disapprove of Israel’s war in Gaza, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday — a downward shift in Americans’ opinions on the war.

More than half of Americans — 55 percent — said they disapprove of Israel’s military action in Gaza, while 36 percent approve of it, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,016 U.S. adults this month. Nine percent said they had no opinion on the matter. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The poll shows growing discontent among Americans with Israel’s war in Gaza. A Gallup poll in November found that 50 percent of Americans approved of Israel’s actions in Gaza, while 45 percent disapproved and 4 percent said they had no opinion on the war. The conflict, which has now killed more than 32,490 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants, followed the Hamas militant group’s Oct. 7 attack in Israel that killed about 1,200 people.

Approval of the war fell among both Republicans and Democrats, although those groups remain split: 64 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats approve of Israel’s military action, according to the March poll. Such sentiments have fallen since November among adherents of both parties: 71 percent of Republicans said then that they approved of Israel’s war in Gaza, while 36 percent of Democrats said they did.

Many Americans also disapprove of the United States sending more military aid to Israel for its war against Hamas, according to a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University. More than half of U.S. voters, 52 percent, oppose sending more military aid, while 39 percent support doing so, according to a survey of 1,569 U.S. adults from March 21 to March 25. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

A poll conducted last month by the Pew Research Center and published last week found that opinions on the war are also split across religious lines, with 62 percent of American Jews saying Israel’s war conduct is acceptable and 5 percent of American Muslims saying so.

President Biden faces reelection in November and has grappled with the fallout from his handling of the war. Some Arab Americans, specifically, have said they won’t vote for him because of his ongoing support of Israel amid the war.

The Gallup poll released Wednesday tells “two conflicting stories” about prospective voters’ views of Biden, however, said Robert Satloff, chair in U.S. Middle East policy at the Washington Institute, a D.C.-based think tank. On one hand, Americans are “increasingly frustrated” with the war in Gaza, including Biden’s “supportive approach for Israel’s right of self-defense,” Satloff said. On the other, discontent with the war has not bogged down Biden’s approval rating.

Jeffrey M. Jones, senior editor at Gallup, noted in his analysis of Gallup’s poll that “although Americans rate Biden’s handling of the conflict poorly, his overall job approval rating is no lower now than before the conflict began.” Americans also don’t rate the war among the most important problems facing the United States, he wrote. However, the conflict “could hurt the president by dampening turnout among would-be Biden voters who care deeply about the issue and are upset with his handling of the situation,” Jones added.

“The key takeaway is that the Hamas-Israel war is a challenge for the policy side of the White House, not the political side,” Satloff said. “While that may change if major military operations continue through the summer, these numbers should calm nervous Biden supporters who fear his support for Israel is a political liability.”

The Biden administration in recent weeks has expressed frustration with Israel’s conduct in the Gaza Strip. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in a meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday that “in Gaza today, the number of civilian casualties is far too high, and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low.”

The United States on Monday abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, allowing the measure to pass. The resolution — and the U.S. abstention — infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who canceled a planned visit by Israeli officials to Washington. The United States usually vetoes measures seen as unfriendly to Israel.

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