October 13, 2023
The War Between Israel and Hamas
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll
Americans Favor U.S. Support of Israel in War with Hamas... Fear Broader Conflict in the Region
Americans express support for Israel in its war with Hamas. In fact, nearly two in three Americans say the U.S. should publicly support Israel, and a majority of Americans think the Middle East is safer with an expression of U.S. support. The military action between Israel and Hamas is of concern for most Americans who worry the war will lead to a greater conflict in the Middle East. Still, a plurality of Americans believe Israel’s military response to Hamas is appropriate. President Joe Biden, however, does not receive majority approval from Americans on how he is handling the situation.
Nearly two in three Americans (65%) say the United States government should publicly support Israel in the war between Israel and Hamas. 23% think the U.S. should say or do nothing, and only 8% say the U.S. should publicly criticize Israel. Regardless of party, at least a majority of Republicans (77%), Democrats (69%), and independents (54%) favor U.S. public support of Israel.
A majority of Americans (53%) think U.S. support for Israel makes the Middle East safer. 41% believe U.S. support makes the region more dangerous.
Most Americans (79%) are either concerned or very concerned that the war between Israel and Hamas will lead to a larger conflict in the Middle East.
A plurality of Americans (44%) think Israel’s military response to Hamas has been appropriate. 26% believe it has been too much while 27% say it has been too little. Republicans (39%) are three times more likely than Democrats (13%) to say the response has not been great enough.
70% of Americans are following the war either very closely or closely.
"Israel is clearly winning in the court of public opinion," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Digging down, even though few Republicans give Biden high marks, his approach to the war is viewed more favorably by the GOP than his overall job performance. The opposite is the case for Democrats who view Biden’s job performance more positively than his handling of the war."
Biden’s Handling of the War Between Israel & Hamas
Impressions of President Biden’s handling of the events in the Middle East fall along party lines. 52% of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s approach, including 19% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans. 44% of Americans, though, approve of how Biden is dealing with the situation. This includes 77% of Democrats and 16% of Republicans.
While still low, Biden interestingly receives approval for his handling of the crisis from more Republicans (16%) than he does from the GOP for his overall job performance as president (6%).
Looking back to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014 during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, 30% of registered voters approved of Obama’s approach, and 55% disapproved. 50% of registered voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the situation in the Middle East now and 45% approve.
Biden’s Job Approval Rating at 43%
President Biden’s overall job approval rating remains upside down. 43% of Americans approve of the job he is doing, little changed from 42% earlier this month. 52% disapprove of how Biden is performing in office. By more than two-to-one, Americans (41%) are more likely to strongly disapprove of Biden’s job performance than to strongly approve (20%).