Nov 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Sympathy for Palestinians grows among U.S. voters

People holding Israeli and Palestinian flags during protests in New York City on Nov. 11.

People holding Israeli and Palestinian flags during protests in New York City on Nov. 11. Photo: Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The number of U.S. voters who sympathize with Palestinians more than Israelis has slightly grown since near the start of the Israel-Hamas war, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll published Thursday.

Why it matters: The new survey reinforces the generational divide and disagreements within the Democratic Party over the war, as the decrease in sympathies for Israelis was largely driven by young voters and Democrats.

Yes, but: A majority of voters (54%) still have more sympathy for Israelis than they do for Palestinians, but that has fallen since Quinnipiac's Oct. 17 poll, when 61% said Israelis and 13% said Palestinians.

  • An overwhelming majority of 72% also said Hamas is more responsible than Israel for the current fighting in the Middle East.
  • Last month's poll came just 10 days after Hamas launched its surprise attack against civilians and soldiers in Israel and killed more than 1,200 people, igniting the war.
  • More than 11,200 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed during Israel's heavy bombardment and ground operation in response to Hamas' attack, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza.

By the numbers: Among voters between the ages of 18 and 34, a majority said their sympathies lie more with the Palestinians, which is up from 26% in October.

  • Those with more sympathy for Israelis fell from 41% in October to 29%.
  • Half of the voters in that age range also said they believe the U.S. is too supportive of Israel, and nearly half (45%) said they don't think it's in the U.S.' national interest to remain so.
  • Among Democrats, a plurality (41%) said they sympathized more with Palestinians — a 19 percentage point increase from last month's poll — while sympathy for Israelis fell 14 percentage points.
  • An overwhelming 80% of Republican voters sympathized with Israelis over Palestinians, and 83% said it is also in the U.S.' national interest to continue supporting Israel.

Of note: Voters weren't given the option to say they sympathize with Israelis and Palestinians equally.

  • They were given the option to say Israel and Hamas are both equally responsible for the violence in the region, and 5% of voters did so.

The big picture: Several demonstrations in support of Palestine or Israel have been held across the U.S. since the start of the war.

  • The "March for Israel" drew tens of thousands of people to Washington D.C. earlier this week.
  • Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators also gathered in D.C., demanding a Gaza ceasefire and an end to U.S. aid to Israel earlier this month.
  • The DHS warned last month that the war is likely to further enflame tensions within the U.S., which could threaten Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities and institutions.

Methodology: The poll surveyed 1,574 self-identified registered voters nationwide between Nov. 9 and 13 and has a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points.

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