Nearly half of Democrats disapprove of Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, AP-NORC poll shows

Nov 10, 2023, 8:00 AM | Updated: Nov 30, 2023, 5:28 pm

president joe biden pictured...

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about artificial intelligence in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, July 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly half of Democrats disapprove of how President Joe Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research — showing a deep divide within his party over the war.

Related: Sanders says he doesn’t know that a ceasefire is possible ‘with an organization like Hamas’

The poll found 50% of Democrats approve of how Biden has navigated the conflict while 46% disapprove — and the two groups diverge substantially in their views of U.S. support for Israel. Biden’s support on the issue among Democrats is down slightly from August, as an AP-NORC poll conducted then found that 57% of Democrats approved of his handling of the conflict and 40% disapproved.

The Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 people and Israel’s responding incursion into Gaza have created a political tightrope for Biden, who has supported Israeli sovereignty since the attack but also pressured Israel’s government to try to limit civilian casualties and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

The war could complicate Biden’s reelection effort as he faces having to balance factions of his party with very different views on the conflict and who is ultimately responsible.

Nearly 7 in 10 Democrats approving of Biden’s management of the conflict think the U.S. provides the right amount of support to Israel currently. Of those who disapprove, 65% say the U.S. is too supportive of Israel. That gap between Democrats who approve and those who disapprove has widened substantially since the poll conducted in August.

Of Democrats who approve of Biden’s handling of the conflict, 76% say Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the war and 32% say the same about the Israeli government, according to the AP-NORC poll taken this month. Democrats who disapprove of Biden’s handling of the conflict are equally likely to say that the Israeli government (56%) and Hamas (55%) have a lot of responsibility.

Majorities of Democrats younger than 45 (65%) and nonwhite Democrats (58%) say they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the conflict. Most Democrats 45 and older (67%) and white Democrats (62%) say they approve.

“Knowing that our tax money could be paying for the weapons that are murdering children by the thousands over there, it’s getting harder to be supportive of our president and our country in general,” said Brie Williamson, a 34-year-old Illinois resident. Williamson said she “couldn’t see voting for a Republican” but would consider other options next year.

But Kelly Taylor, a 52-year-old from Massachusetts, affirmed her support for Biden and his handling of the conflict.

“I think he’s doing the best any president could do given the situation,” she said.

The poll’s findings are the latest reflection of how the war has split Democrats in Washington and across the country.

More than 20 Democrats voted Tuesday to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, for her criticisms of Israel and invocation of a phrase that some Jewish groups say advocates for the destruction of Israel. Tlaib has said she wants a ceasefire in Gaza and called this week for “peaceful coexistence” between Israelis and Palestinians.

In South Florida, many Jews have lauded Biden’s support of Israel. Trump won Florida in 2020. In Michigan and Minnesota, both states that Biden won, well-known Democrats and members of large Arab and Muslim populations have spoken out against Biden.

To be sure, the conflict is intense enough to elicit strong opinions from people across the political spectrum.

“I’m as pro-Israel as anyone. They absolutely have a right to protect their interests,” said Florida voter John Montalvo, a 69-year-old who said he “leans” Democratic. Still, Montalvo added, “Palestinians have been living like prisoners since 1947,” referring to partitions of Palestinian settlements after World War II.

Opinions about Biden’s approach do not seem to affect Democrats’ support for establishing an independent Palestinian state. Biden, like his Republican and Democratic predecessors, has endorsed a “two-state solution,” though no American administration has made genuine strides toward such an accord.

About 4 in 10 Democrats overall say they favor the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that includes the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Yet both Biden’s ardent backers and his critics acknowledge the practical difficulties involved.

Montalvo, the Floridian who cheers Biden, said he “absolutely” supports a two-state agreement. But asked whether a Palestinian state should include Muslim sections of Jerusalem, he balked. “No,” he insisted. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”

As Biden navigates war abroad and delicate politics at home, he may be left to hope that his Democratic critics are more like Peter Bennett, a 72-year-old from California who said he disapproved of Biden’s handling of the conflict and was distressed by what he called a “knee-jerk Israel-first perception in American politics.”

But Bennett was also clear about who he would vote for if next year’s election is a rematch of 2020.

“I want some real leadership here that I don’t think we’re getting,” he said. “But if it were a choice between Donald Trump and a stray dog, I’ll vote for the stray dog.”


The poll of 1,239 adults was conducted Nov. 2-6, 2023, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, designed to represent the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.


Barrow reported from Atlanta.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Israel + Hamas

Thirteen-year-old Ayham Musalm, center, is receiving treatment for a fractured leg and glass shrapn...

Aditi Sangal, CNN

Injured youth from Gaza find care in the US, face uncertain future

At least 1,000 children in Gaza have had one or both legs amputated, UNICEF reported in December. That number has since grown.

1 month ago

President Joe Biden speaks with CNN’s Erin Burnett during an exclusive interview Wednesday, May 8...

Jack Forrest, Andrew Millman and Avery Lotz, CNN

Biden faces bipartisan backlash over Israel ultimatum

Biden is facing backlash from lawmakers over his Israel ultimatum that would result in a shut-off of some US weapons.

1 month ago

President Joe Biden arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to attend a political fundraise...


Biden says US won’t supply weapons for Israel to attack Rafah

Biden said the U.S. was still committed to Israel's defense, but that if Israel goes into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used."

1 month ago

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike east of Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 6, 2024. (AP Phot...


US pauses bomb shipment to Israel over Rafah invasion concern

The Biden administration paused a bomb shipmant to Israel over concerns that the country might launch full-scale assault on the city of Rafah.

1 month ago

The protests grew after an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York City led to ...

Alex Leeds Matthews, Krystina Shveda, Amy O'Kruk and Renée Rigdon, CNN

Map: Where university protesters have been arrested

As pro-Palestinian protests have erupted on college campuses nationwide, protesters continue to be arrested.

2 months ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American ...

Michael Schwartz, Tim Lister and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Israel closes Al Jazeera news network in the country

Israel has ordered the closure of Al Jazeera in the country, a move the Qatar-based news network called a “criminal act.”

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Nearly half of Democrats disapprove of Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, AP-NORC poll shows