Jan 31, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Survey: Nearly half of Asian Americans say Palestinians need more support

Asian Americans are among the 2,000 people during a Pro-Palestinian at City Hall in San Francisco on Dec. 5, 2023. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images

About half of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders say the U.S. is not "supportive enough" of Palestinians in the current Israeli-Hamas war, a new survey of AAPI adults shows.

Why It Matters: The broad poll of AAPI adults may indicate a crucial voting bloc of President Biden's election coalition disagrees with how the president is handling the Israeli-Hamas war.

The big picture: Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. but studies have rarely gauged their opinions on domestic and foreign policy until recent years.

By the numbers: Around 49% of AAPI adults said the U.S. is "not supportive enough" of Palestinians in the conflict with Israelis, according to the AAPI Data/AP-NORC Center monthly survey released this week, which also includes data on attitudes about the economy, health care and personal finances.

  • By contrast, an AP-NORC poll in November with the general population found that 31% of all U.S. adults felt the U.S. was "not supportive enough" of Palestinians.
  • Roughly 48% of AAPI adults said the U.S. is "too supportive" of Israelis, compared to 32% of all U.S. adults.

Zoom in: When parsed by party affiliation, 25% of AAPI Republicans, 35% of APPI Independents, and 68% of Democrats said the U.S. was "not supportive enough" of Palestinians.

The intrigue: About 45% of AAPI adults think the U.S. is not supportive enough of the country's Muslim communities, while just 26% say the same about Jewish communities, the survey found.

Yes, but: There also appeared to be a generational split as with other Americans, the survey showed.

  • 39% of AAPI adults over 60 said the U.S. wasn't supportive enough of Palestinians, compared to 62% of AAPI 18- to 29-year-olds.

What they're saying: "People think they know what the AAPI community stands for, but without the data - without a representative sample - we didn't know. I didn't know this before this data came out," said Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of AAPI Data, told Axios.

  • Ramakrishnan also pointed to the potential threat for the Biden administration seeking to turn out younger AAPI voters, if it fails to "do more to address the humanitarian crisis and push for a ceasefire."
  • "We're already seeing this with Black communities," he added, pointing to recent news stories about Black clergy pressuring the Biden administration to do more.

Between the lines: AAPI turnout was key for President Biden in the last presidential election, especially in states like Georgia and Michigan. The president can ill-afford to lose any support of his coalition in an expected rematch with Donald Trump.

  • Some Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, who were strong supporters of Biden in 2020, are vowing not to vote for him in 2024.
  • An Axios review of 2020 results in these crucial states shows that if even a sliver of the Arab American and Muslim American vote were to stay home or defect to Republicans, Biden could be in a deep hole.

Methodology: The AAPI Data / AP-NORC survey was conducted Dec. 4-11 by NORC at the University of Chicago. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample 1,091 Asian American and Pacific Islander adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ± 4.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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