Half of US voters aged 18-24 back Hamas over Israel in Gaza war

Half of US voters aged 18-24 back Hamas over Israel in Gaza war
A poll has found that 50 percent of US voters aged 18 to 24 support Hamas more than Israel in the Gaza war, though 81 percent of voters overall back Israel.
4 min read
17 December, 2023
Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters have faced off in the US [Getty]

A new poll has shown that half of registered US voters aged between 18 and 24 support Hamas more than Israel in the Gaza war.

More than four in five voters overall support Israel. The number backing Hamas increases as the age groups get progressively younger, with 31 percent of those aged from 25 to 34, and four percent of those 65 and above supporting the Palestinian armed group.

The poll, published by the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) at Harvard University and Harris Insights and Analytics, was carried out online on Wednesday and Thursday.

It also found 60 percent of voters believe the long-term answer to the "Israeli-Palestinian dispute" was a two-state solution, while 21 percent thought it was for Arab countries to absorb the Palestinians.

Support for the idea of Arab states taking in Palestinians will increase fears of a repeat of the 1948 Nakba ("catastrophe" in Arabic) as Israel wages its indiscriminate war on Gaza, which so far has killed nearly 19,000 people.

The Nakba saw some 750,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed – some internally within historic Palestine and others into neighbouring countries including Jordan and Syria.

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The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found just 19 percent of US voters think the long-term solution is for Israel to "be ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians", but that figure rose to 51 percent among those aged 18 to 24, and 31 percent for those between 25 and 34 years old.

The poll, however, showed contradictory beliefs among US voters, with 69 percent of those in the 18–24 age bracket believing Israel "has a right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people". More than three-quarters of those between 25 and 34 years old, and 86 percent of of overall voters see Israel as having a right to exist as the homeland for Jews.

Two-thirds of voters believe Hamas is a terror group that rules the Gaza Strip with fear and isn't supported by the territory's people, while just 36 percent of those aged 18 to 24 think the same.

The US State Department lists Hamas as a foreign terrorist organisation. It is also considered a terror group in the UK.

Of the 18–24 age group, 64 percent feel Hamas is "supported by the majority of Palestinians in Gaza".

However, a recent poll of Palestinians found only 38 percent of those in Gaza would prefer to see Hamas in control of the enclave, though this was the most popular choice.

A further 16 percent would prefer the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas to be in control, while 23 percent supported a PA national unity government without the octogenarian leader.

A small proportion were in favour of a PA national unity government with Abbas leading it.

In the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, 81 percent of US voters said Israel has a "right to defend itself against terror attacks by launching air strikes on targets in heavily populated Palestinian areas with warnings to those citizens".

Only 37 percent of voters – including 57 percent of those aged 18 to 24, and 50 percent of those aged 35 to 44 – feel Israel should cease all hostilities now.

Instead, 63 percent of overall US voters believe that Israel should "keep going until Hamas is defeated and the hostages released".

While only 37 percent of voters think Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, a position held by many experts, the majority of those aged 34 and under believed this to be the case.

Around 70 percent of the nearly 19,000 victims of Israel's war on Gaza are women and children, with Israeli forces attacking hospitals, ambulances, schools, and residential areas.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll also showed 73 percent of voters view as a "false ideology" the idea that Jews "as a class are oppressors and should be treated as oppressors".

But an alarming 67 percent of those aged 18 to 24 believe Jews are oppressors, according to the research.