How Americans feel about the Israel-Hamas war

Below are five charts on how public opinion is shaping around the Israel-Hamas war

The author(s)
  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Senior Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Bernard Mendez Data Journalist
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It’s been nearly two weeks since Hamas launched a surprise land, sea, and air attack from Gaza, killing 1,400 people and taking about 200 hostages back to Gaza, the single deadliest attack against Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Since then, Israel has declared war on Hamas, launching retaliatory strikes and readying a ground invasion into Gaza, which to date has killed thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. Thousands of more Palestinians have fled their homes as millions remain caught in the most intense fighting the region has seen in decades.

This is just the second week. With a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip as aid lingers in Egypt, some fear that the conflict and toll on civilians will continue escalating.

Amid a sea of misinformation, one thing is clear: Americans are paying close attention. So where do they stand when it comes to the war and the U.S.’ role in it?

Below are five charts on how public opinion is shaping around the Israel-Hamas war.

  1. Far from quiet. The Israel-Hamas war is the story Americans most care about compared to the rest of the news cycle. Americans are paying close attention to the happenings in Gaza and Israel. The issue is top of mind.Americans are most interested, care most about Israel-Hamas war
  2. Mixed feelings. President Joe Biden has thus far walked a tightrope between supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and the safety of Palestinian civilians caught in Israel’s military response. Americans, too, are divided on how they’d like to see the U.S. respond, though a plurality thinks the U.S. should support Israel. America is divided on this issue.Opinions on U.S. responsibility divided
  3. Common ground. While nearly all Americans believe that Hamas is a terrorist organization, nearly all Americans also agree that civilians fleeing Gaza should be allowed to flee to a safe country and that Israel should avoid killing civilians. There is some common ground.Most Americans say civilians fleeing Gaza should be allowed to flee to a safe country
  4. Bad news for Biden. President Biden has low approval in several key policy areas, and his handling of this war is no different. While Biden’s approval of how he is handling the Israel-Hamas war is low, it’s on-par with his approval for the war in Ukraine and is much stronger than his approval on domestic issues, like inflation, immigration, or crime. Can Biden rally support from the international community and Americans back home around his response to the war? We will see. Biden’s credibility clock is ticking.Less than half approves of how Biden is handing the war between Israel and Hamas
  5. Parallels to Ukraine. Much like in the war in Ukraine, Americans do not want to see the U.S. drawn into a military conflict in the Middle East. Biden’s two war solution, which he recently defined, seems to have only lukewarm support among Americans.Americans don’t want the U.S. to take military action in Ukraine, the Middle East

Americans care about the Israel-Hamas war, though they are split on how the U.S. should respond. Even as the public is divided on the diplomatic response, Americans want solutions for civilians in Gaza and at the same time a rigorous response to terrorism.

President Biden is tasked with balancing all these different priorities on the global stage. His Ukraine plus Israel strategy is about to be tested at home. Will American opinion toward the wars align with that of Biden? We will see.

The author(s)
  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Senior Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Bernard Mendez Data Journalist

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