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Americans’ Views of the Israel-Hamas War

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Bipartisan concern about violence against Jews in U.S.; wide partisan gap in concerns over violence against U.S. Muslims

Pew Research Center conducted this study to better understand Americans’ views of the current war between Israel and Hamas. For this analysis, we surveyed 5,203 adults from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 2023. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.

Here are the questions used for the report and its methodology.

As the war between Hamas and Israel continues with no end in sight, far more Americans (65%) say Hamas bears a lot of responsibility for the current conflict than say that about the Israeli government (35%).

Much smaller shares of Americans say the Palestinian people (20%) and the Israeli people (13%) have a lot of responsibility for the war.

A new Pew Research Center survey, conducted Nov. 27-Dec. 3 among 5,203 adults, finds sizable partisan and age differences on these questions, as well as about many other aspects of the two-month-old war:

  • Majorities of both Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (73%) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (62%) say Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the conflict. But Democrats (50%) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (21%) to say the Israeli government bears a lot of responsibility.
  • About half of adults ages 18 to 29 (46%) say Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the war. That compares with majorities of 60% or more among older age groups. (Explore this further in chapter 1.

Related: About half of Republicans now say the U.S. is providing too much aid to Ukraine

The war between Israel and Hamas has spurred a number of concerns among Americans, including the possibility of a wider regional conflict and terror attacks in this country:

Bipartisan concern over violence against Jews in the U.S.

Dot plot showing bipartisan concern about increasing violence against U.S. Jews; wider partisan differences in concerns over increasing violence against Muslims in the U.S.

Nearly half of Americans (48%) say that when thinking about the war, they are extremely or very concerned about the possibility of increasing violence against Jewish people in the United States.

Another 31% say they are somewhat concerned about this; just 19% have little or no concern about increasing violence against American Jews.

Nearly identical shares of Democrats (49%) and Republicans (48%) say they are extremely or very concerned about the possibility of increasing violence against Jews in this country.

Democrats more likely than Republicans to express concern about increased violence against U.S. Muslims

About half of Democrats (53%) say they are extremely or very concerned about the possibility that violence against Muslims in the U.S. will increase, compared with 22% of Republicans.

While about half of Republicans (53%) say they are at least somewhat concerned about the prospect of rising violence against Muslims in the U.S., 46% say they are not too concerned or not at all concerned about this. That compares with 15% of Democrats. (Explore this further in chapter 2.

Biden administration’s response to Israel-Hamas war viewed more negatively than positively

Stacked bar chart showing by a modest margin, more disapprove than approve of Biden administration’s response to Israel-Hamas war

Roughly a third of adults (35%) approve of the Biden administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, while 41% disapprove and 24% are not sure.

  • Republicans disapprove of the administration’s response by about two-to-one (51% disapprove, 28% approve). Democrats are more divided: 44% approve of the administration’s response, 33% disapprove and 22% are not sure.
  • Adults under age 30 are particularly disapproving of the administration’s response to the conflict. Just 19% approve, while 46% disapprove. The administration’s response is viewed less negatively among older age groups.  
Pie chart showing Americans are divided over how Biden 
is dealing with Israelis and Palestinians

Americans generally differ over whether President Joe Biden is striking the right balance in dealing with the Israelis and Palestinians (25%), favoring the Israelis too much (21%), or favoring the Palestinians too much (16%). Nearly four-in-ten adults say they are not sure how Biden is handling this. (Explore this further in chapter 3.

Public is divided in views of Israel’s military operation against Hamas

Americans also differ over Israel’s ongoing military operation against Hamas, with nearly a third (32%) not sure.

Bart chart showing Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say Israel is going too far in its Hamas military operation

About a quarter (27%) say Israel is going too far in its current military operation, while about as many (25%) say it is taking the right approach; 16% of Americans say Israel is not going far enough militarily.

More than four-in-ten Democrats (45%) say Israel is going too far in its military operation against Hamas, compared with 12% of Republicans.

There also are age differences in these opinions, with younger Americans more likely than older age groups to say Israel is going too far.

Other important findings

Bar chart showing Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say that in the future, a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully with each other

About half of Americans say a two-state solution is still possible in the future. Currently, 52% say that, in the future, a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully; 45% say this is not possible. Democrats (62%) are more likely than Republicans (43%) to say that a peaceful, two-state arrangement is possible.

About a quarter of Americans (26%) are following the Israel-Hamas war extremely or very closely. Another 37% say they are following news about the war somewhat closely, while 36% are following not too or not at all closely.

As with most international news events, younger adults are following developments in the conflict less closely than are older people. About a third of adults ages 50 and older (35%) say they are following the war extremely or very closely, roughly double the share of those under 50 (18%).

Americans who have been paying greater attention to news about the war are more likely than others to have an opinion about the administration’s response and to approve of it. Both Democrats and Republicans who have been following the war extremely or very closely give the administration much higher ratings than do those who have been following the conflict less closely.

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