Thursday, May 23, 2024

A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found that voters broadly disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Younger Americans were especially critical of both Israel’s conduct and the administration’s response to the war in Gaza. The poll also revealed that U.S. voters are sending mixed signals about the direction of U.S. policy as the conflict continues. Nearly as many Americans want Israel to continue its military campaign as want it to stop to avoid further civilian casualties. These findings suggest that the President has few politically viable options.

Further, the poll has implications for the upcoming election, with 52 percent of registered voters 65 years and older indicating that they would vote for Trump, and the president’s overall approval rating falling to 37 percent. There is uncertainty, however, as to whether disaffected voters will actually cast their votes. The economy remains a major concern for voters, with 34 percent noting economic or inflation-related issues as a top concern.

Young voters, traditionally a heavily Democratic demographic, are particularly critical of Mr. Biden’s handling of the conflict in Gaza and are now leaning towards Trump as opposed to Biden. However, these younger voters are uncertain about whether to vote at all. On the issue, a narrow plurality of voters suggest that Israel should stop its military campaign in order to avoid further civilian casualties, while others support Israel continuing its military campaign.

The poll also demonstrates a growing partisanship with regards to Israel, with more Republicans and fewer Democrats sympathizing with Israel, and an increase in concern about anti-semitism. This has left Democratic voters feeling uneasy, and has contributed to a fracture within the party. Despite these trends, President Biden has maintained a nuanced response and has been noted for his support of the Jewish community and opposition to antisemitism throughout his political career.

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