Conditioning Aid to Israel Would Boost Support for Biden in Key States, New Poll Finds

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One in 5 Democrats and independents in Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota say that President Joe Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza is making it less likely that they will vote for him in November, according to a new poll released on Tuesday. Two in 5 of those same respondents said an immediate and permanent ceasefire and conditioning of aid to Israel would make them more likely to vote for him.

The poll was commissioned by Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, a lobbying group, and conducted by the polling firm YouGov. Around three-quarters of respondents identified as Biden supporters, while one-quarter said they supported either Donald Trump or a third party or write-in candidate. According to the poll, coming just about five months before the general election, some 30-40 percent of non-Biden voters in each battleground state said a ceasefire and conditioning of aid would make them more likely to vote for the incumbent.

In each of the five states, some three-quarters of respondents support an immediate and permanent ceasefire. The number was highest notably in Pennsylvania, home to Democratic Sen. John Fetterman, who has been one of Israel’s most vocal supporters in Congress. Almost 83 percent of respondents from Pennsylvania said they supported a ceasefire, and 24.2 percent said they were less likely to vote for Biden given his current handling of the war on Gaza. The state as well was host to the highest share of voters who said a ceasefire and conditioning of aid would make them more likely to vote for Biden: 48.2 percent.

“Pennsylvanians, like folks across the country, are horrified by the continued violence being perpetrated by the Israeli government in Gaza and the West Bank, and want to see their leaders fight back against having our taxpayers dollars fund more death and destruction,” said Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., who recently won a primary election despite facing a well-funded challenge over her criticism of Israel. “We must listen to them.”

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In 2020, Biden won several of the aforementioned battleground states by extremely narrow margins: 11,779 votes in Georgia; 10,457 in Arizona; and 20,682 in Wisconsin. Primary voters in several of the polled states have voted “uncommitted” (or an analogous option) in protest of Biden’s handling of the war: in Minnesota, 18.9 percent of voters chose to do so; in Michigan, 13.21 percent.

The president has little room for error in his rematch against Trump, though he has continued to struggle in the polls, hindered by weakening support among young and nonwhite voters reacting to both the economy and Gaza.

Recent polls from the New York Times and Siena College found the president trailing in several battleground states — including Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan, as well as Georgia and Nevada. Trump, meanwhile, not only faces an array of criminal charges, but he is also the face of a party that’s stripped abortion rights and ratcheted up book bans and attacks on LGBTQ+ people and health care.

“Biden cannot continue to ignore the convictions and demands of a large segment of the Democratic electoral base if he wants to maintain his chances of winning.”

In all five states polled, respondents had net-positive support for conditioning aid to Israel — with roughly 55 to 66 percent of voters in support, compared to some 15 to 20 percent against. Meanwhile, each state also had net-positive support for the wave of student solidarity encampments that have swept campuses across the country — with roughly 50 percent of respondents in support, compared to roughly 30 percent opposed.

“What this opinion poll suggests is that Biden cannot continue to ignore the convictions and demands of a large segment of the Democratic electoral base if he wants to maintain his chances of winning the upcoming November elections,” Osama Abu Irshaid, executive director of AJP-Action, said in a statement. “This puts Biden before a choice: either he does the morally and politically right thing and preserve his chances in the November elections, or he continues on the current path and risks jeopardizing his reelection bid. What is certain is that the war in Gaza has turned into an electoral issue this year.”

 Civil defense teams and citizens continue search and rescue operations after an airstrike hits the building belonging to the Maslah family during the 32nd day of Israeli attacks in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on November 7, 2023. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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Israel’s War on Gaza

Biden has shown little interest in materially ending his support for Israel’s war or confronting Israel’s right-wing government even while it accepts billions of U.S. public dollars. While Biden admitted that Israel has used American weapons to kill Palestinian civilians and halted one shipment of weapons to Israel in protest of its invasion on Rafah, it became clear the rhetoric wouldn’t hold. (The weapons whose delivery was delayed — 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs — were not ones that would have likely been used for a wider ground invasion.)

Indeed, just days after the State Department released a long-awaited report that essentially let Israel off the hook for “likely” violating international law using U.S.-supplied weapons, the Biden administration announced that it would advance another $1 billion of weapons to Israel.

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