CBS News poll: Rising numbers of Americans say Biden should encourage Israel to stop Gaza actions


An increasing number of Americans want Joe Biden to encourage Israel to stop military actions in Gaza; and Mr. Biden’s handling of the situation is now down to its lowest levels yet.

In the poll, conducted before Iran’s drone and missile attack on Israel, there wasn’t much clamor among the U.S. public for U.S. military action against Iran, were Iran to strike Israel. More would instead have the U.S. support Israel’s next actions.

Mr. Biden faces particular pressure within his own party regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, where Democrats also express increasing sympathy with the Palestinian people, along with the Israelis; and Mr. Biden’s handling has taken a particular hit among younger Americans as well. 

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Many sympathize with both the Israeli and Palestinian people, but the percentage of Democrats who also say they sympathize a lot with the Palestinian people is up from last fall.

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The overwhelming majority of Americans across all party lines say they sympathize at least somewhat with the Israeli people. But the percentage who sympathize “a lot” is far lower than it was in October, just after Hamas’ terror attacks.

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And compared to last October, there are fewer Democrats and independents today who say the U.S. should send weapons and supplies to Israel. That view does remain a steady majority among Republicans.

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And there’s been an increase in those saying send humanitarian aid to Palestinians, but most Republicans still oppose that.

Half the country believes the threat of terrorism will increase for both Israel and Americans as a result of the conflict.

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Another possible trouble spot for the president: most Americans don’t think the U.S. government is doing all it can to bring the American hostages home.

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Finally, underlining the importance of all this: most say how this matter is handled reflects on many things, including the U.S.’ morals and principles, as well as its security and strategic interests. 

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Biden’s overall approval — and declines among younger Americans

But that said, politically, for the president it’s still the economy that matters relatively more. For Democrats, and also for independents, Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict is not as connected to his overall job approval as are views of his handling of the U.S. economy.

That is, people are more likely to disapprove of Mr. Biden overall if they think he isn’t handling the economy well than if they think he isn’t handling the conflict well.

And that, in turn, doesn’t have great news for him either. On the heels of the most recent inflation report, and the stock market drop that ensued, the months-long run-up of optimism about the economy has stalled for now. Views of it are still hovering in the mid-30’s after regularly ticking up over the winter. And the percentage of Americans expecting economic growth has leveled off, too.

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Moreover, when the bulk of Americans who think things in the country aren’t going well are asked why that is, they say it’s the economy, more so than wars and events overseas.

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Mr. Biden’s overall approval is still trading in a narrow range, the low 40s, about where it’s long been.

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Although it’s offset a bit elsewhere, his approval among younger people is down. 

And there’s been a drop among them on how Mr. Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas conflict.

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This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,399 U.S. adult residents interviewed between April 9-12, 2024. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past vote. The margin of error is ±2.6  points.

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