Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how President Biden is handling the current war between Israel and Hamas, according to an Associated Press poll released Wednesday.
As the war enters its second month, a staggering 63% of Americans say Biden is not doing enough to adequately manage the conflict, bring peace or limit civilian casualties, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Aaron Philipson, a 64-year-old Republican in Florida, said he’s disappointed by Biden’s strategy towards the war and his cooperation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“He’s not taking a proper stand,” Philipson said of Biden. “He seems to be trying to dictate policy to Netanyahu, and Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be having any of it.” Under Biden’s leadership, he said the world “is all falling apart right now,” and “this war is sort of like the icing on the cake.”
The survey, which was conducted from Nov. 2 to 6, found that Americans have become more likely to describe Israel as an ally that shares U.S. interests since the war with Hamas began, but they’re divided over whether Israel has gone too far in its response to last month’s attack.
Israel’s counteroffensive comes after Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7, the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history.
The survey found 40% of Americans said Israel’s military response in the Gaza Strip has gone too far.
Among Democrats, 58% said they view Israel’s counterattack as excessive.
Overall, however, a majority said the response was reasonable, with 38% of Americans saying Israel’s response has been about right, and 18% saying it has not gone far enough.
Some claim the current conflict is too complicated to definitively take a side.
“It’s just so complicated,” said Carolyn Reyes, a 36-year-old Democrat in New York. “And I will not even pretend to understand the complicated nature of the relationship between the United States and Israel.”
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has said 10,000 Palestinians have died from weeks of Israeli bombardment and its ground invasion through northern Gaza. The death toll includes about 4,000 children.
Reyes described the death toll as “the line that’s too far.”
“It seems so high, I thought that can’t be right,” she told The Associated Press.
Despite the rising casualties, Americans largely pin blame for the current conflict on Hamas, which the U.S. State Department has designated a terrorist organization.
Nearly 2 in 3 people (66%) said Hamas has a lot of responsibility for the war with the others saying Israel bears responsibility.
The poll shows Biden’s unsatisfactory statistic is slightly worse than his overall job approval, as 60% of U.S. adults disapprove of the way Biden is handling his job as president. Only 38% approve.
Biden’s approach toward Israel could present a political challenge for him as he tries to balance support for Israel’s right to self-defense — which is widely supported — and the shifting priorities of his Democratic Party’s more progressive members, which favor Palestinian independence.
The AP poll of 1,239 adults was conducted Nov. 2-6, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, designed to represent the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.