US support for Israel is declining amid ongoing war in Gaza: survey

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A majority of Americans now back a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, though the Biden administration has strongly spoken against such a move, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll published Wednesday.

Poll respondents showed less support for Israel than at the start of the conflict, perhaps showing changing opinions as the war reaches its sixth week. About 32 percent of respondents said the U.S. should support Israel, down from 41 percent in mid-October, days after the start of the war.

Many now believe that the U.S. should instead be a “neutral mediator” in the conflict, instead of taking a side. The rate has increased to 39 percent from 27 percent a month ago.

A comparable 15 percent of respondents said the U.S. should back Palestinian interests in the war, which is largely unchanged.

The drop in support, most apparent among older respondents, comes after weeks of relentless airstrikes and a ground campaign in Gaza by the Israeli military, which has drawn criticism of much of the international community.

Over 11,100 Palestinians – including more than 4,600 children — have died in the conflict as of last Friday and humanitarian organizations, namely the United Nations, have led efforts for a cease-fire in order to assist Gazan civilians.

Much of the fighting in recent days has centered on the hospitals of Gaza City, where thousands have sheltered from Israeli airstrikes. 

Nearly 70 percent of Americans said the Israeli government should pursue a cease-fire, including three-quarters of Democrats and half of Republicans.

Both Israel and Hamas have come out strongly against a cease-fire effort, and the Israeli government has refused to consider a long-term stop to the fighting. The country agreed to four-hour “humanitarian pauses” in fighting last week, but has refused efforts for longer periods.

The poll also found that more Americans are willing to support the Ukrainian military with weapons against Russia than Israel. Just under a third of Americans backed weapons for Israel, while just over 40 percent said they support the same for Ukraine.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll questioned about 1,000 people online this month and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The results correspond with a recent Marist poll, which found that a larger proportion of Americans disapprove of Israel’s military strategy in Gaza, saying it has gone “too far.”

The Marist poll found that 38 percent of Americans believe Israel has gone “too far” in its response to the initial Oct. 7 attack that sparked the conflict, compared to 26 holding that opinion at the outset of the war.

The survey also found that Democrats’ allegiances are split in the conflict, despite unity from most Democrats in Congress. A 45 percent share of Democrats have the most sympathy for Israel in the war while another 45 percent said the same for Palestinians.

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