How Much Is Biden’s Support of Israel Hurting Him With Young Voters?
President Joe Biden has consistently expressed strong support for Israel, a position that has been met with mixed reactions from American voters, particularly young people. A recent poll by the New York Times/Siena College found that only 20% of voters aged 18 to 29 approve of Biden's handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while 45% disapprove of his approach and cite his support for Israel as a primary reason for their disapproval. This is a significant shift from a 2019 poll by the same organizations, which found that 42% of young voters approved of Biden's handling of the conflict and only 21% disapproved.
There are a number of factors that may be contributing to the decline in Biden's support among young voters on this issue. One factor is that young people are increasingly sympathetic to the Palestinians. A 2022 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 46% of young Americans sympathize more with the Palestinians, compared to 27% who favor Israel. This is a marked change from a 2006 poll by the same organization, which found that 63% of young Americans favored Israel, compared to 24% who sympathized with the Palestinians.
Another factor is that young people are more critical of Israel's military actions in Gaza. The 2023 Times/Siena College poll found that 66% of young voters believe that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in Gaza during the recent conflict, while only 28% believe that Israel did not. This is a stark contrast to a 2014 poll by the same organizations, which found that 51% of young voters believed that Israel did not intentionally target civilians, compared to 42% who believed that it did.
The decline in Biden's support among young voters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a significant development. It suggests that young people are becoming increasingly critical of Israel's policies and are less likely to support the unconditional support that the United States has traditionally provided to the country. This could have implications for American foreign policy in the Middle East, as it suggests that the next generation of American leaders may be more willing to challenge Israel's actions.