Huge majority of Americans back Israel in Gaza war – poll

The youngest age group is least supportive (57%), with a concurrent 46% saying the Hamas attack could be justified by Palestinian grievances against Israel.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The latest survey of Americans’ view of the Hamas-Israel war shows that a huge majority back the Jewish state over the terrorist organization that still rules the Gaza Strip.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, conducted among 2,346 registered U.S. voters on January 17 and 18 and released Monday, revealed that support for Israel in the fight has held steady since last month’s survey, at a whopping 80%.

Backing that number, 74% of those surveyed believed Hamas would like to commit genocide against the Jews in Israel. Three quarters also said the October 7 Hamas massacre of 1,200 people and kidnapping of another 250 civilians could not be justified by any Palestinian grievances towards Israel.

Similar to previous polls, the numbers supporting Israel go steadily up as the age of the respondents rises, with 90% and 93% backing the Jewish state in the 54-65 and 65+ age groups, respectively.

One response that could worry Jerusalem is that when asked if Israel is just trying to defend itself and eliminate Hamas, the number drops to 66% who answered “yes,” with 69% saying that Israel was trying to avoid civilian casualties in the war. Just over a third (34%) said that they believe instead that Israel is currently committing genocide against the Gazans.

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This latter number rises to 57% among the youngest age group, 18-24 year olds, with a concurrent 46% saying the Hamas attack can be justified, 43% backing Hamas more in the conflict, and 40% saying genocide was not a Hamas goal.

Still, this seemed to contradict the data points that only 20% of the youngest cohort viewed Hamas favorably, and 74% agreed that the October 7 assault was a terror attack.

Two thirds of those surveyed (67%) agreed with the many Israelis who say that a ceasefire should only happen if the hostages are released and Hamas is removed from power.

Overall, 52% have favorable view of Israel (and 28% unfavorable), with approval ratings dropping to 32% regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally. Netanyahu can take comfort in that only 12% have a favorable view of Hamas, with 67% unfavorable. The approval number rises to just 17% regarding the Palestinian Authority but a mere 11% like its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Israelis in general can also be cheered up by vociferously anti-Israel congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar getting a thumbs up from only 16% and 17% of those surveyed, respectively.

The White House may want to take the positivity towards Israel into account, as the poll also showed that only 39% overall approved of the way President Joe Biden is handling the conflict, with just 16% registering “strong” approval. On the other hand, only seven percent consider the war to be one of the most important issues facing the U.S. today.

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The respondents were overwhelmingly white in terms of ethnicity (67%), but in most other elements, such as age, gender and political leanings, the groupings were fairly evenly divided.