Poll: Americans split over Israel’s war on Gaza

DEIR AL-BALAH, GAZA - NOVEMBER 06: Relatives of Palestinians who died in the Israeli airstrikes gather around the bodies taken from the morgue of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital ahead of the funeral ceremony in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on November 06, 2023. ( Ashraf Amra - Anadolu Agency )

Fifty per cent of Americans approve of Israel’s deadly military actions in Gaza while 45% disapprove, according to a Gallup poll.

The poll is significant because the U.S. is Israel’s key ally and sponsor and probably the only nation with the power to rein Tel Aviv in.

According to the data, white adults (61%) are the most likely group to approve of Israel’s military actions in Gaza, whereas people of colour (64%) are the most likely to disapprove.

The poll was conducted November 1-21, in the month after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and Israel launched its genocidal response.

Separately, the poll probed Americans’ views on the level of U.S. aid going to Israel and the Palestinians – specifically, military aid for Israel and humanitarian aid for the Palestinians.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed a Republican plan providing $14.5bn in military aid for Israel, the largest in history.

The largest segment of Americans (42%) said the U.S. is providing about the right amount of military aid to Israel, and another 25% said the U.S. is not doing enough, totalling 67% who endorse at least the current level of military aid to Israel.

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At the same time, 31% said the U.S. is doing too much in providing this aid, slightly exceeding those believing it is too little.

Meanwhile, a combined 74% of Americans think the United States is doing the right amount (34%) or not enough (40%) in providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

In contrast to the balance of views on military aid to Israel, the percentage saying too little humanitarian aid is going to the Palestinians well exceeds the 22% saying the U.S. is doing too much.

President Joe Biden’s 32% approval rating for his handling of the crisis is lower than his already-anemic 37% overall job approval rating in the new poll.

This approval deficit is especially pronounced among the groups who are most opposed to Israel’s military action in Gaza: Democrats, people of colour, women and young adults. These groups express significantly less approval for the job Biden is doing on the Middle East situation than they offer for his job performance overall.

While not attracting as much interest as some of the biggest news events Gallup has recorded historically, Americans are largely tuned in to the war.

Seventy-two percent of adults say they are paying close attention to it, described as “the recent situation in the Middle East involving Israel and the Palestinians.” This includes 31% who are following it “very closely” and 41% “somewhat closely.” Another 17% are following it “not too closely,” leaving just 10% who are not following it at all.

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