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Amid concern about wider war, Americans give mixed reactions to Biden's approach toward Israel-Hamas conflict

CBS poll: U.S. attitudes toward Biden, Israel
How Americans view Biden's handling of Israel-Hamas war, according to CBS polling 02:47

Americans overwhelmingly voice sympathy for the Israeli people in the current conflict, and there's widespread support for sending humanitarian aid. 

But while a plurality think President Biden has shown the right amount of support for Israel, his approach draws only a mixed response, underpinned by broad public concern about the prospects of a wider war in the region, and terrorism here at home. 

Amid that uncertainty, there is broad support for the U.S. engaging in diplomacy to resolve the conflict, but there is a split on whether the U.S. ought to send weapons to Israel.


Mr. Biden's overall handling of the situation is net negative, though slightly higher than his overall presidential approval rating. His handling of the conflict draws partisan splits, though they are somewhat less dramatic than on other issues. Republicans mostly disapprove of the way Mr. Biden is handling it, tending to feel his recent statements and actions haven't shown enough support for Israel. But Republicans do give Mr. Biden relatively better marks on handling the conflict (at 28% approval) than on his job overall (just 8%).

While most Democrats feel Mr. Biden is showing the right amount of support for Israel, nearly 3 in 10 Democrats think he's shown too much support, and they, in turn, would like him to do more to encourage a diplomatic solution.


When those who don't think Mr. Biden is showing Israel enough support are then asked what, specifically, he might do to show it, most would like him to be more critical of Hamas' actions, while others say they just don't like his approach. 


Polling was conducted before, during, and after Mr. Biden's visit to Israel, and there is no evidence the trip had any effect on these opinions. Nor has his approach to the conflict moved his overall approval rating. It remains at 40%, where it was last month. 

On what the U.S. should do

Americans strongly agree on the U.S. engaging in diplomacy with countries in the region and sending humanitarian aid to Israel; many would also send it to Palestinians.

Mr. Biden's own party, the Democrats, are divided on whether the U.S. ought to send weapons and supplies to Israel, and Republicans show a slight majority in favor of that. Those Democrats who don't think the U.S. ought to are relatively less approving of Mr. Biden's handling of the conflict than Democrats who do. 


This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,878 U.S. adult residents interviewed between October 16-19 2023. 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 ±2.9 points.


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