Young voters were more evenly divided on who they sympathized with in October, but have since returned to the Palestinians – from 26 percent then to 52 percent today – in a return to a long-term trend that has divided the party. In one month, the number of young voters more favorable to Israelis than Palestinians fell from 41 percent to 29 percent.
The generational divide poses a problem for the Democratic Party, which relies on young voters as a key bloc in its coalition. Party strategists and elected officials already fear that Democrats’ support for Israel, led by President Joe Biden, could cost the party votes.
“Mr. President, Michigan is an important star for you, as is Pennsylvania and Georgia too. And guess what? We won’t forget,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), first and sole Palestinian American member of Congress, during a demonstration in mid-October.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged that Biden was “taking a hit” for his response to the conflict during a recent press conference.
Democratic Party leaders find themselves far removed from young voters in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and from a small cohort of their own progressive members of Congress who support a ceasefire resolution in Congress.
In negative vote elections, some pro-Israeli groups are already considering to challenge members, like Tlaib, who have spoken out in favor of the Palestinians and a ceasefire. Negative ads are running against Tlaib and Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York and Summer Lee of Pennsylvania — who supported the ceasefire legislation — in their districts.
Voters over 65 were much more likely to support Israel in the vote. About two-thirds of these voters favor sending more military aid to Israel and a majority approve of Israel’s response to the October 7 Hamas attack.
And 65 percent of older voters said their sympathies were more with the Israelis than the Palestinians.
There is also a strong partisan divide.
The poll found that 60 percent of Democrats disapprove of the Israeli response to the October 7 attack, compared to 27 percent who approve. Democrats were also divided on whether to send more military aid to Israel, with 48 percent against and 45 percent in favor.
A majority of Democrats said they thought U.S. support for Israel was “about right.” But about a third of Democrats also said the U.S. was “too supportive.”
The Quinnipiac survey found that Republicans are much more favorable to Israel overall and support additional U.S. aid, making them more aligned with the current U.S. government response.
Seventy-three percent of Republicans approved of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attack, and 71 percent said they favored sending additional military aid.
The poll was conducted Nov. 9-13 among 1,574 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.