top of page

Global Public Opinion Polls About Israel

This article was originally published on the Hasbara Toolbox I launched in partnership with other professionals in the Israel Advocacy field. Harvard Caps Harris Poll, November 15-16 (published on November 20):

In mid October, a startling generational gap in perceptions of the Israel-Hamas conflict came to light in a Harvard Caps Harris Poll, causing widespread concern amongst the Jewish community in North America and in Israel. Now, a month later, we explore the November update, delving into key findings and drawing insights that shed light on the complex landscape of American sentiment toward Israel.

THE BIG PICTURE

  • Biden’s Approval Ratings: While President Biden’s overall approval on various issues remains under 50%, there’s a slight uptick in confidence regarding his handling of the economy and foreign affairs, a crucial factor for Israel. Maintaining strong approval in these areas is pivotal to ensure continued support.

  • Israel’s Favorability: Israel continues to be among the top four most favorable institutions in American eyes, although it has slipped one point since the last poll. Notably, it still ranks one point higher than Ukraine, the darling of the global community since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out in February, 2022.

  • Issue Prioritization: Surprisingly, the “Israel-Hamas Conflict” isn’t the foremost concern for Americans, with at least 9 other issues considered more important. This suggests that while the conflict is on our minds, it doesn’t dominate the American national conversation, which is actually a good thing.

  • Overall Perceptions: On the whole, American perceptions of the Israel-Hamas war remain positive for Israel’s legitimacy to do what needs to be done to bring the hostages back and end Hamas. Most voters approve of Biden’s Israel policies and support providing aid to Israel.

DIGGING DEEPER

  • Generational Support: While an overwhelming majority of Americans side with Israel over Hamas, there’s a concerning trend of decreasing support for Israel among younger age groups. The gap is most pronounced among 25-44 year-olds, indicating a shift that merits attention.


  • Moral Equivalence: Most Americans reject the idea of moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel’s grievances. However, a significant portion of younger generations leans toward perceiving such equivalence, raising questions about the impact of recent events on their perspectives.

  • Long-term Solutions: While the majority of Americans favor a two-state solution in the long term, there’s disconcerting data among younger age groups. A significant percentage still entertains the idea of “ending Israel” as a solution, highlighting a deep-seated generational divide.


(the numbers in blue and red are comparisons to the October poll, with red indicating that there has been a decrease, and blue indicating an increase)

  • Emotional Disconnect: Despite intellectual understanding of Israel’s right to defend itself, there’s a notable emotional disconnect among younger generations. Sympathy seems to lean toward Hamas, indicating a need for a nuanced, emotionally resonant communication strategy rather than one that rests wholly on providing facts and information or attempting to sway opinions using savvy social media “explainer” videos.

(the numbers in blue and red are comparisons to the October poll, with red indicating that there has been a decrease, and blue indicating an increase)


CONCLUSIONS AND STRATEGIES

Six weeks after Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza, resulting in freeing some 50 hostages but also taking the lives of over 12,000 Palestinians living in Gaza, overall American perceptions still favor Israel, which is crucial for maintaining support for Israel’s legitimacy. The generational gap is a long-term concern, exacerbated by recent events, demanding innovative communication strategies. The writing has been on the wall for over a decade, but doing more of what has always been done will not result in the change we want to see. Short-term strategies seem effective – especially the focus on the hostage crisis, but deeper emotional engagement strategies are necessary for long-term impact. In navigating this complex landscape, Israel faces the challenge of adapting communication strategies to bridge the emotional gap with the younger generation, ensuring enduring support in the face of evolving sentiments.

Comentários


bottom of page