Voters broadly disapprove of the way President Biden is handling the bloody strife between Israelis and Palestinians, a New York Times/Siena College poll has found, with younger Americans far more critical than older voters of both Israel’s conduct and of the administration’s response to the war in Gaza.
Voters are also sending decidedly mixed signals about the direction U.S. policy-making should take as the war in Gaza grinds into its third month, with Israelis still reeling from the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, thousands of Palestinian deaths in Gaza and the Biden administration trying to pressure Israel to scale back its military campaign. Nearly as many Americans want Israel to continue its military campaign as want it to stop now to avoid further civilian casualties.
That split appears to leave the president with few politically palatable options.
The findings of the Times/Siena poll hold portents not only for Mr. Biden as he enters the 2024 re-election year but also for long-term relations between the Jewish state and its most powerful benefactor, the United States.
The fractured views on the conflict among traditionally Democratic voter groups show the continued difficulty Mr. Biden faces of holding together the coalition he built in 2020 — a challenge that is likely to persist even as economic indicators grow more positive and legal troubles swirl around his expected opponent, former President Donald J. Trump. [Continue reading…]
For the first time, Mr. Trump leads President Biden among young voters in a Times/Siena national survey, 49 percent to 43 percent. It’s enough to give him a narrow 46-44 lead among registered voters overall.
Usually, it’s not worth dwelling too much on a subsample from a single poll, but this basic story about young voters is present in nearly every major survey at this point. Our own battleground state surveys in the fall showed something similar, with Mr. Biden ahead by a single point among those 18 to 29. Either figure is a big shift from Mr. Biden’s 21-point lead in our final poll before the midterms or his 10-point lead in our last national poll in July.
And there’s a plausible explanation for the shift in recent months: Israel.
As my colleagues Jonathan Weisman, Ruth Igielnik and Alyce McFadden report, young voters in the survey took an extraordinarily negative view of Israel’s recent conduct: They overwhelming say Israel isn’t doing enough to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza, believe Israel isn’t interested in peace, and think Israel should stop its military campaign, even if it means Hamas isn’t eliminated. [Continue reading…]