Majority believes America has a responsibility to push parties in the Israel-Gaza conflict to negotiate

Wall Street Journal/Ipsos survey of Americans find the public divided on America’s role in the Israeli-Hamas conflict

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Editorial Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington DC, October 22, 2023--Two weeks into the conflict between Israel and Hamas, American public opinion continues to be divided on the role of the United States in the conflict, new Wall Street Journal/Ipsos polling finds. Half of Americans support a general non-interventionist or neutral position, with a clear majority opposed to committing U.S. ground forces in any active combat scenarios. However, most Americans remain sympathetic to civilians and support diplomatic efforts. Please read the Wall Street Journal's article here.

Majority of Americans oppose the use of U.S. troops in an active combat scenario

Detailed findings:

  • While two-thirds of Americans (67%) report that they are familiar with the conflict between Israel and Hamas, only one in five (20%) report being very familiar.
  • A large majority of Americans (75%) report having a favorable opinion about the Israeli people, while half of Americans (55%) report having favorable opinions of the Israeli government. Half of Americans (51%) also report having favorable opinions of the Palestinian people. Seven percent of Americans report a favorable opinion of Hamas.  
  • About half of Americans (46%) believe the U.S. is doing the right amount to help Israel. The remainder are divided equally between believing the U.S. is doing too much (25%) or not enough (24%).
    • American opinion is more divided on U.S. involvement in helping the Palestinian people, with 38% saying “right amount,” 33% saying “not enough,” and 24% saying “too much.”
  • When asked where they place the blame for the current violence, a plurality  of Americans point towards Hamas (47%), while one in ten say Palestinians (11%). One in seven (13%) say all sides equally and one in twenty (5%) say mostly on the Israeli side. One in five Americans (22%) say they do not know.
  • When asked what the U.S. should do in the Middle Eastern conflict, half (52%) say the U.S. should not take either side. Two in five (42%) say “take Israel’s side” and three percent (3%) say “take the Palestinians’ side.”
  • Most Americans oppose the use of U.S. ground troops in direct conflict in the Middle East, either if Israel were attacked by its neighbors (38% favor, 57% oppose) or if Iran directly joined the fight against Israel (45% favor, 50% oppose). However, a majority of Americans would support (60%) U.S. troops being involved in a peacekeeping force to enforce a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • About half of Americans agree that America has a responsibility to “support Israel in its war with Hamas” (52%), “push parties in the Israel-Gaza conflict to negotiate” (53%), and “protect Israeli civilians” (54%). Two in five (41%) say the U.S. has a responsibility to “protect Palestinian civilians” and one in four (28%) say the U.S. has a responsibility to “work towards Palestinian statehood.” 

About the Study

This Wall Street Journal/Ipsos poll was conducted October 18 to 20, 2023, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,409 adults age 18 or older.

Six respondents were removed from the final data for refusing all of the survey items.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult U.S. population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the U.S. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population. KnowledgePanel members receive a per survey incentive, usually the equivalent of $1 (though for some it is $2) in points, that can be redeemed for cash or prizes. No prenotification email for this study was sent prior to field. Panelists receive a unique login to the survey and are only able to complete it one time. No reminder emails were sent for this study.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from 2022 Current Population Survey (CPS) from the US Census Bureau. Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Something else)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.10. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. Sampling error is only one potential source of error. There may be other unmeasured non-sampling error in this or any poll. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people. 

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Editorial Director, US, Public Affairs