Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Four out of five Americans favor Israel over Hamas, most back Rafah operation: poll


Americans favor Israel in its war against Hamas by a margin of four-to-one and nearly three-quarters support a military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Four out of five voters (80%) back the Jewish state in its nearly seven-month-old war against the Islamic terrorist group, with the highest levels of support concentrated among older age groups, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris survey released Monday.

Meanwhile, 72% of voters say they back an Israel Defense Forces military operation in Rafah to “finish the war,” with 28% saying Israel should “back off now and allow Hamas to continue running Gaza.”

The poll was released as college students and faculty have erupted in protests supporting Hamas and denigrating Israel and Jews on campuses across the country, erecting encampments at many prominent universities including Columbia and NYU.

President Biden, 81, has taken flack from his progressive base for his handling of the conflict.

He has also pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against going into Rafah without a plan to protect civilians from harm.

On Sunday, the two leaders had a phone call, and Biden “reiterated his clear position” on Rafah, according to a readout from the White House.

However, two-thirds of voters in the Harris poll said Israel was already trying to avoid civilian casualties in the densely populated Palestinian enclave.

Respondents also gave Biden low marks for his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict, with just 39% saying they approved of his response.

While Americans were overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, the Harvard CAPS-Harris poll flagged a deep schism by age.

Among registered voters between 18 and 24, only 57% backed Israel compared to 43% who favored Hamas.

Among voters between 55 and 64, however, support for Israel reached 91%, with 93% of those 65 and up backing the Jewish state.

Hamas, which governed the Gaza Strip, is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and many Western nations.

The group sparked the war on Oct. 7, 2023, with a gruesome attack on southern Israel that killed an estimated 1,200 people, including 33 Americans.

United Nations experts concluded that Hamas terrorists carried out gang rape and other acts of sexual violence during the attack.

When asked about the possibility of a cease-fire that would permit Hamas to rule Gaza and continue to hold dozens of hostages taken on Oct. 7, more than two-thirds of all voters (68%) opposed the idea.

However, voters ages 18 to 24 were in favor of the proposal by a margin of 57% to 43%.

The poll also showed Donald Trump leading President Biden in a three-way matchup with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with the Republican getting 44%, Biden on 38%, and RFK Jr. getting 12%.

In a head-to-head showdown, Trump leads Biden by five percentage points, 48% to 43%.

With leaners included, the 45th president leads Biden 52% to 48% in the two-way race, and 45% to 41% in the three-cornered fight, with Kennedy getting 14%.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris was taken April 24–25 and surveyed 1,961 registered voters with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2 percentage points.

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