A recent poll conducted in 2023 has shed light on the contrasting sentiments held by Democrats and Republicans in the United States regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. The findings indicate that Democrats are increasingly inclined to support Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, while Republicans continue to overwhelmingly back Israel, one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East.
This shift in Democratic sympathies toward Palestinians has been a decade in the making. In March 2023, a Gallup poll revealed that Democratic support for Palestinians had surpassed their support for Israel, with 49% of Democrats expressing affinity for Palestinians compared to 38% for Israel.
This shift represented a significant decline in support for Israel among Democrats, as it dropped from 40% to 38%. In contrast, support for the Palestinian people saw an 11-point surge, rising from 38% to 49%. Notably, the 38% support for Israel marked a historic low for the Democratic Party, with 13% of Democrats indicating that they did not favor one side over the other.
Across the aisle, Republicans maintained their staunch support for Israel, with a staggering 78% expressing their backing for the Middle Eastern ally. Only 11% of Republicans leaned more toward the Palestinians. This steadfast support for Israel among Republicans has remained consistent since 2003, with only one instance in the past two decades when it dipped below 70%.
Independents’ views on the matter also leaned toward Israel, with 49% expressing support for the country compared to 32% for Palestinians. Nineteen percent of Independents did not favor either side, according to Gallup.
In terms of overall American sentiment, the poll found that 54% of Americans supported Israel, while 31% favored Palestinians, with 15% expressing no preference.
The release of this poll coincided with a surge in violence between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group governing Gaza. Hamas launched a brutal and unexpected assault on towns and villages near the Gaza-Israel border, resulting in a devastating loss of life.
Hamas continued its aggression by firing over 1,500 rockets into Israel, striking cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Amidst this conflict, President Biden and other Democratic lawmakers expressed support for Israel while condemning Hamas’ actions. However, some House Democrats released statements critical of Israel and called for the U.S. to reconsider its support for the country.
The ongoing war has led to a significant loss of life, with over 1,600 casualties reported in the four-day conflict, including more than 900 Israelis and 11 Americans. Additionally, over 160 people were taken hostage by Hamas and Islamic jihadists, with an unknown number of Americans believed to be among the hostages. In response, Israel launched a major counteroffensive in an effort to eliminate Hamas and secure the release of the hostages.