update deskIsrael at War

Half of Democrats say Israel to blame a lot for Gaza war, per Pew poll

Some 45% of Democrats said that the Jewish state has gone too far in its military campaigns against the Hamas terror organization.

Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 7, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Israeli troops operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Dec. 7, 2023. Credit: IDF.

More than twice as many Democrats (50%) as Republicans (21%) say that the Israeli government bears “a lot” of responsibility for the war against the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

That’s according to a new poll that the Pew Research Center conducted of 5,203 adults between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.

Many more respondents said Hamas is to blame “a lot” (65%) and “a little” (9%) for the war than said the Israeli government is to blame “a lot” (35%) and “a little” (24%). Smaller numbers said the Palestinian people are to blame “a lot” (20%) and “a little” (29%), and that the Israeli people are responsible “a lot” (13%) and “a little” (28%).

It wasn’t clear to what extent respondents took the question—”How much responsibility do each of the following have for Israel and Hamas currently being at war?”—to mean morally culpable or otherwise responsible.

Most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (73%) and Democrats and those who lean Democrat (62%) said Hamas bears a lot of responsibility, per the survey. Nearly half (46%) of those ages 18 to 29 said that Hamas is very responsible for the war.


Pew also asked respondents about Jew-hatred stateside. Nearly half (49%) of those who are or lean Democrat and nearly the same number (48%) of those who are or lean Republican are extremely concerned about increasing violence against U.S. Jews. Half of those who are or lean Democrat are extremely concerned about the war going on for a very long time, compared to 39% of those who are or lean Republican.

Nearly the same number of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents (45%) and Republicans and Republican-leaners (41%) worried greatly that the war would expand in the region. The gap was much wider for extreme concern about the war leading to terror attacks in the United States (48% from those on the right, 36% on the left) and to violence against Muslims stateside (53% on the left, 22% on the right).

Some 53% of Republicans are at least somewhat concerned about anti-Muslim violence potentially rising in the United States, while 46% weren’t too concerned or concerned at all at that prospect. Just 15% of Democrats weren’t concerned too much or at all.

White House

More than four in 10 (41%) of respondents disapprove of the Biden administration’s response to the Israeli-Hamas war, with 21% strongly disapproving. Some 35% approve, with 9% strongly approving. Nearly a quarter (24%) wasn’t sure.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s approval numbers varied among different groups. Most (51%) of those who are or lean Republican disapprove, with 27% disapproving strongly, compared to 33% of those who are or lean Democrat who disapprove, with 15% doing so strongly.

A little more than a quarter (28%) of those who are or lean Republican approve of how Biden is responding to the war, while 44% of those who are or lean Democrat approve, with 14% approving strongly.

Age was also a factor. Seniors 65 and up approved at a rate of 50% (15% strongly) compared to 37% disapproval (17% strongly so). Those ages 18 to 29 largely disapproved (46%, 26% strongly so) compared to 19% who approved (5% strongly so), and 30- to 49-year-olds also disapproved (43%, 21% strongly) compared to approved (30%, 6% strongly).

A quarter of respondents think that Biden is striking the right balance in dealing with Israelis and Palestinians, while 21% think he favors Israelis too much, and 16% think he favors Palestinians too much. Some 38% weren’t sure.

Israeli’s military operation

While 25% of respondents said Israel has the right approach in its military campaign in Gaza, 27% think it’s going too far and 16% not far enough. Democrats and Democrat leaners (45%) were much likelier than Republicans and Republican leaners (12%) to reply “going too far.”

A quarter of those who are or lean Republican think Israel isn’t going far enough, while just eight percent of those who are or lean Democrat think that. Nearly one in five (18%) of those who are or lean Democrat think Israel has the right approach, compared to 34% of those who are or lean Republican.

More than half (52%) overall said a peaceful, two-state solution is possible, with those who are or lean Democrat (62%) considerably more likely to say that than are those who are or lean Republican (43%).

About a quarter overall (26%) said it is watching the war “very” or “extremely” closely.

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