Fox News Poll: Voters oppose student protests, say they haven’t made them more sympathetic to the Palestinians

May 15, 2024 | Latest News | 0 comments

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The many protests on college campuses against the war in Gaza have led to the cancelation of commencement ceremonies, but have they made a difference in views about the war? Probably not the way students are hoping. 

The latest Fox News survey, released Wednesday, finds registered voters are twice as likely to say the protests have made them less sympathetic (29%) toward the Palestinians as opposed to more sympathetic (16%), while over half say it hasn’t made a difference (52%).

In general, one-third supports the protests (33%), while 6 in 10 oppose them (59%). 

Liberals (56%), Black voters (54%), voters under age 30 (54%), and Democrats (50%), are among those most likely to support the protests, with each group registering support of 50% or greater. 

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Republicans (80%), those who consider themselves very conservative (77%), White evangelical Christians (74%), and rural Whites (72%) are even more strongly opposed to the protests with at least 7 in 10 saying so.

Roughly 6 in 10 college graduates as well as those without a college degree oppose the protests. 

Democrats, Black voters, liberals, and voters under age 35 are likely to say the protests make them more rather than less sympathetic of Palestinians by 7-10 points, yet among most groups, including the ones previously listed, half or more say the protests made no difference. 

Views vary on what the protests represent. About 6 in 10 voters say they are pro-Palestinian (62%) and anti-Israeli (58%). All other descriptions of the protests are under 50% but not by much: anti-war (49%), anti-Semitic (46%), anti-American (43%), and pro-Hamas (42%).

Majorities of Democrats and Republicans agree the protests can be described as pro-Palestinian (64% D, 63% R) and anti-Israeli (53%, 68%), but that’s where the similarities end. Republicans are 2-3 times more likely to also see them as anti-American (27% D, 63% R), anti-Semitic (35%, 61%), and pro-Hamas (29%, 59%). Democrats are twice as likely to say the protests are anti-war (63% D, 36% R).

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And while majorities of voters continue to side with the Israelis (57%) over the Palestinians (28%) in the conflict, support has been steadily dropping. Since October, support for the Israelis is down 11 points, while support for Palestinians is up 10 points.

This shift has occurred across the board since October, but perhaps most noticeably among Democrats, where support for the Israelis (-16) is down by double digits and matched by an increase in support for the Palestinians (+14). There are also double-digit increases in support for the Palestinians among voters under 30 (+10) and independents (+15). 

Republicans hold relatively steady with roughly three-quarters supporting the Israelis.

By a 12-point margin, more who side with the Israelis oppose the campus protests (76%) than those who side with the Palestinians (64%).

Voters continue to be split over U.S. support to Israel: 32% say it is too supportive, 30% not supportive enough, and 33% about right. 

Views of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are underwater as 27% have a favorable opinion and 45% have an unfavorable opinion — a net negative rating of 18 points — and 28% can’t rate him. That’s unchanged since last month when he was underwater by 19 points. A decade ago, his rating was net positive by 6 points — although at that time, 43% couldn’t rate him.  

Biden’s job rating on the Israel-Hamas war is underwater with 32% approving and 64% disapproving for a net negative of 32 percentage points. That net rating has doubled since the start of the conflict when he was at a negative 16 (39-55% in November 2023).

That negative shift is bolstered by higher disapproval among Republicans (+11) and independents (+16) today.

The president’s best issue is the economy, although he is underwater by 19 points. His ratings on inflation (-30) and border security (-31) are similar to those for the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Biden’s overall job rating is 45% approve, 55% disapprove, the highest since January 2023. That’s also about where his personal favorable rating stands: 44% favorable vs. 56% unfavorable.  

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Conducted May 10-13 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News survey includes interviews with a sample of 1,126 registered voters randomly selected from a national voter file. Respondents spoke with live interviewers on landlines (133) and cellphones (700) or completed the survey online after receiving a text (293). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of ±3 percentage points. Weights are generally applied to age, race, education, and area variables to ensure the demographics of respondents are representative of the registered voter population.

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