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Pew Research Center

February 13-25, 2024

The Details

1. In the U.S., 62% of Jews and 53% of Muslims report that hearing or reading news about the Israel-Hamas war makes them afraid. In other religious and nonreligious groups, the share expressing fear is significantly lower.

  • Jews are more likely than other U.S. religious groups to say news about the conflict makes them feel angry.

  • American Jews and Muslims are paying more attention to the war than other groups analyzed, with 61% of Jews and 41% of Muslims saying they’re following it extremely or very closely.

  • Americans are feeling overwhelmingly saddened by the war, then angry, then exhasted and finally, afraid.

  • This issue is challenging for many people – both emotionally and in terms of understanding the specifics of the war. Many Americans are also disengaged: Relatively few (22%) say they are closely following news about the war, and half can correctly report that more Palestinians than Israelis have died since the war’s start. On many questions about the war, sizable numbers express no opinion.

2. In terms of favorability and sympathies towards either side, views of the Israeli government have become more negative since 2022, but positive views of the Israeli people remain as high as in 2022. Most U.S. adults (57%) are conflicted or ambivalent about who they sympathize with more – the Israelis or the Palestinians.

  • Today, 41% of U.S. adults express a favorable view of the Israeli government, down from 47% two years ago. The share who express very unfavorable views of the government also has nearly doubled over this time period, from 12% to 21%.

  • Only 23% of Americans view the Palestinian Authority favorably and 68% view it unfavorably. Just 8% of Americans view Hamas favorably (84% view it unfavorably). There isn’t enough data to compare these views with years past.

  • 64% of Americans view the Israeli people favorably and 28% view them unfavorably. 50% of Americans view the Palestinian people favorably and 41% view them unfavorably.

  • Among adults under 30, the share expressing a favorable view of the Israeli people has fallen 17 percentage points since 2019, while their views of the Palestinian people have not shifted over this timespan. Older people’s views of both Israelis and Palestinians have remained largely unchanged.

  • Three-in-ten Americans (31%) sympathize entirely or mostly with the Israeli people, while 16% sympathize entirely or mostly with the Palestinian people and 26% say they sympathize with both sides equally. Another 18% are unsure where their sympathies lie.

  • By a margin of more than 2-1, adults under 30 sympathize relatively more with Palestinians than with Israelis (33% vs. 14%), while the balance of opinion is reversed among older age groups.

3. Americans are divided about how – and whether – the U.S. should be involved in the Israel-Hamas war, and U.S. public opinion is deeply divided – and largely uncertain – about whether President Joe Biden is striking the right balance in his approach to the war, favoring the Israelis too much or favoring the Palestinians too much.

  • In terms of whether President Biden and the Republican candidate for presidency, Donald Trump, are favoring the Israelis or the Palestinians too much:

    • 22% think Biden is favoring the Israelis too much, and 34% think Trump is favoring them too much.

    • 16% think Biden is favoring the Palestinians too much, and 6% think Trump is favoring them too much.

    • 21% think Biden is striking the right balance and 50% think Trump is striking the right balance.

    • 40% are unsure on who Biden is favoring, a drop of 22% from people who were unsure two years ago.

  • 38% of Americans favor providing Israel with military aid, 14% neither favor nor oppose, 35% oppose it and 15% are unsure. Unsurprisingly, 50% favor providing the Palestinians with humanitarian aid, 16% neither favor nor oppose, 20% oppose and 15% aren’t sure.

  • 20% of Americans feel the U.S. should play a major role in diplomatically helping resolve the war, 35% feel it should play a minor role, 27% think it should play no role at all, and 18% aren’t sure.

4. Very few Americans (5%) say that the way Hamas carried out its Oct. 7 attack against Israel was acceptable, but a somewhat larger share (22%) view Hamas’ reasons for fighting Israel as valid.

  • Two thirds of Americans find the October 7 attack “completely unacceptable”, and 21% aren’t sure. In terms of the reasons for fighting the war, 49% do not feel Hamas’ reasons are valid, but 22% think they are. 28% aren’t sure.

  • 46% of Americans consider Israel’s response to the attack acceptable, 34% consider it unacceptable and 26% aren’t sure. In terms of Israel’s reasons for fighting the war, 58% consider them valid, 15% do not feel they are valid, and 26% are unsure.

  • Just under a quarter of Americans think the way the Israeli government is carrying out the war against Hamas will make the Israeli people more secure than they were before the war, just over a quarter think it will make them less secure, 15% think it won’t have much effect and 35% aren’t sure.

5. In terms of prospects for the future, very few Americans think Hamas’ actions will make the creation of an independent Palestinian state more likely than it was before the war. Around a third of the U.S. public thinks it will make an independent state less likely and most are unsure.

  • 10% of Americans think the Oct 7 attack and the subsequent war will make the creation of an independent Palestinian state more likely, 31% think it will make it less likely, 15% think it won’t have much of an effect and 41% aren’t sure.

  • 12% of Americans think there will eventually be a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, 68% do not think it’s likely, and 20% are unsure.

  • 40% (up 5% from two years ago) prefer to see a two-state solution, 13% (down 3% from two years ago) prefer a one-state solution governed jointly by Israeli and Palestinians together, 14% (up 4% from two years ago) prefer one state governed by an Israeli government, 2% (same as two years ago) prefer one state governed by a Palestinian government, and 30% (down 7% from two years ago) aren’t sure.

Key Takeaways

The fear from the war personally affecting Americans who aren’t Jewish or Muslim is very low. This indicates that the narrative of “The West is Next”, even though it may be valid, simply isn’t getting through and any messaging trying to show that Israel is fighting America’s war as much as it is fighting its own, requires different language or pressure points.

Favorability towards the Israeli people remains high in America. This means we need to shift our messaging from focusing on the actions of the Israeli government in the war, to highlighting the values, attractive characteristics and positive contributions of the Israeli people, going forward.

Over half of Americans are ambivalent about who they sympathize with more in the war. They either sympathize mostly with the Israeli people but also somewhat with the Palestinian people; sympathize mostly with the Palestinian people but also somewhat with the Israeli people; or they express equal sympathy with both sides. These results indicate all options remain open to sway people to increase their sympathies towards the Israelis, as they felt immediately after October 7. In other words, all is not lost! (That said, the under-30 age cohort remains challenging).


Pew Research Center conducted this survey to explore views about the Israel-Hamas war. It surveyed a total of 12,693 U.S. adults (not necessarily registered voters) from Feb. 13 to 25, 2024.

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