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Harvard Caps Harris

January 2024


This survey was conducted online within the United States from January 17-18 among 2,346 registered voters by The Harris Poll and HarrisX.

The first survey this company shared in October 2023 shocked the pro-Israel community, when it asked whether Americans support Hamas or Israel, and almost half of Gen Z Americans sided with Hamas. We are following this survey every month and comparing it to the survey the month before.

The Details

1. Attention about the war is decreasing slightly overall and significantly among Gen Z:

  • 67% are still paying attention closely compared to 69% last month, but attention amongst Gen Z dropped from 81% in December to 69% in January.

  • The Israel-Hamas War is only in 17th place in terms of the most important issue facing America today, with Anti-Semitism remaining very low, just four places from the bottom.

2. Overall support for Israel remains significantly high in the U.S.:

  • 80% (compared to 81% in December) support Israel over Hamas. 

  • 3 in 4 Americans still consider what happened on October 7th genocidal and can’t be justified by the grievances of the Palestinians.

  • Over 2/3 of Americans think Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties, 3% more than last month think that Israel is just trying to defend itself and isn’t committing genocide in Gaza, and a similar increase in those who want a ceasefire only after the hostages are released and Hamas is removed.

  • More people (67% compared to 64% in December) think that Hamas cannot be negotiated with and is dedicated only to the destruction of Israel.

  • Strong support (84%, even Gen Z at 78%) for increasing the U.S. military response against the Houthis if they continue to attack international shipping.

3. Gen Z paying less attention to the war, but their opinion about Hamas and Israel is changing (viewing Hamas less favourably and Israel with mixed feelings):

  • 10% more Gen Z’ers compared to last month’s poll consider what Hamas did on October 7th genocidal (up from 66% in December to 75% in January).

  • Significant decrease (from 60% to 46%) in those who said October 7th can be justified by grievances of Palestinians.

  • Notable drop in support for Hamas over Israel from 50% to 43%.

  • Marked decrease from 76% last month thinking Hamas can be negotiated with and aims for peace, to 60% this month.

  • Drop from 42% to 37% in those who think Hamas should be able to continue to run Gaza.

4. But opinions about Israel by Gen Z are still unstable:

  • While 3% less Gen Z’ers (down from 60% in December to 57% in January) think Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, this leaves well over half of them who consider Israel’s actions genocidal.

  • In addition, this month we see an increase from 64% to 70% in those who think Israel isn’t taking enough precautions to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

5. Millennials’ views of the situation continue to be worrying:

  • On the one hand, 70% of Millennials support Israel over Hamas (see graph above).
    But more Millennials compared to last month think that Hamas should continue to rule Gaza after the war (up from 28% in December to 37% in January - see graph above). 
    More Millennials this month think an unconditional ceasefire is preferable over a ceasefire that is conditioned on the release of hostages and the removal of Hamas (54% in January compared to 49% in December).

Key Takeaways

Advocacy efforts on all fronts are paying off, except with Millennials. We should pay more attention to maintaining support of 25–44-year-olds, so we don’t lose them. They represent a far greater percentage of active voters in the U.S. and some of them are already national business, cultural and other influencers that the public listens and pays attention to.

The improvement amongst Gen Z’s views is promising, it’s important to try and ascertain why that is, what the reasons for improvement are. This can only be done with focus groups and more surveys, asking these specific questions.

In general, it seems like Israel’s advocacy efforts are on the right track still, almost 4 months after October 7th. It is advisable to double down on continuing these efforts and focusing on the half-full-glass rather than highlighting and getting overly concerned about the loud voices that are calling Israel’s actions to question.

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