A Gallup Poll released Thursday shows Democrats’ approval of Joe Biden dropped eleven points in the past few weeks to the lowest point in Biden’s presidency. Biden went from 86 percent approval among Democrats down to 75 percent approval. Gallup analysis points to a growing slip in the Democratic Party between supporters of Israel and Palestinians affecting their response to Biden’s support for Israel after the October 7 terror attack by Hamas that killed 1,400 Israelis (including 33 Americans) and saw over 200 Israelis (and some Americans) taken hostage.
Biden’s overall approval slid from 41 percent in September to 37 percent in October. Independent approval went down from 39 percent to 35 percent, while Republican approval was steady at just 5 percent.
Immediately after the attack, Biden pledged “rock solid and unwavering” support for Israel from the U.S., and he subsequently visited the country on Oct. 18 to reiterate that message. But Biden has faced criticism from some members of his party for aligning too closely with Israel and not doing enough for the Palestinians. Some prominent Democratic lawmakers and protesters around the U.S. have called for Biden to do more to help the millions of Palestinians who are in need of humanitarian aid as Israel attempts to eradicate Hamas.
Early this year, Gallup found that for the first time in the U.S., Democrats’ sympathies for the Palestinians outpaced those for the Israelis. Although the survey is not designed to allow for statistically reliable estimates for any subset of the three-week polling period, the daily results strongly suggest that Democrats’ approval of Biden fell sharply in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas and Biden’s promise of full support for Israel on the same day. Biden’s current 75% approval rating among Democrats is well below the 86% average from his own party throughout his presidency.
…Biden’s immediate and decisive show of support for Israel following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas appears to have turned off some in his own party, resulting in Democrats’ worst assessment of the president since he took office. Biden’s overall approval rating likewise matches his personal low. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes at a time when Americans remain pessimistic about the economy, the Biden administration is struggling to deal with increasing numbers of migrants attempting to enter the country, and debate continues about how much aid to provide to Ukraine in its war with Russia.
Also on Thursday, the Biden administration gave unqualified support to Israel and Jewish Americans after several days of Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre playing both sides.
Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates gave a statement to the Times of Israel that only spoke about support for Jews who have been under anti-Semitic attacks since October 7 (excerpt):
“Amidst the rise in poisonous, antisemitic rhetoric and hate crimes that President Biden has fought against for years, there is an extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates tells The Times of Israel.
“Just over the past week, we’ve seen protests and statements on college campuses that call for the annihilation of the State of Israel; for genocide against the Jewish people. Jewish students have even had to barricade themselves inside buildings,” he says.
…Bates says “these grotesque sentiments and actions shock the conscience and turn the stomach. They also recall our commitment that can’t be forgotten: ‘never again.’”
“Delegitimizing the State of Israel while praising the Hamas terrorist murderers who burned innocent people alive, or targeting Jewish students, is the definition of unacceptable – and the definition of antisemitism. President Biden is proud to have been an enemy of antisemitism and hate his entire life, and he always will be,” Bates adds.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby gave an impassioned defense of Israel at Thursday’s White House press briefing in response to a reporter about civilian casualties in Gaza:
OMG I can't believe I'm saying this, but….go John Kirby?
TV Globo’s @RKrahenbuhl: “So, besides saying that he doesn't have confidence in these numbers, the President went further to say that innocents will die and that this is the price of the war. You also said that.”
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 26, 2023
TV Globo’s @RKrahenbuhl: “So, besides saying that he doesn’t have confidence in these numbers, the President went further to say that innocents will die and that this is the price of the war. You also said that.”
Kirby: “I have indeed.”
Krähenbühl: “Don’t you think this is insensitive? There’s being very harsh criticism in about it. For example, the Council of American-Islamic Relations said it was deeply disturbed and call on the President to apologize. Would the President apologize?”
Krähenbühl: “And does he regret saying something like that?”
Kirby: “What’s harsh — what’s harsh is the way Hamas is using people as human shields. What’s harsh is taking a couple of hundred hostages and leaving families and anxious, waiting and worrying to figure out where their loved ones are. What’s harsh, is dropping in on a music festival and slaughtering a bunch of young people just trying to enjoy an afternoon. I could go on and on. That’s what’s harsh. That is what’s harsh and being honest about the fact that there have been civilian casualties and that there likely will be more is being honest, because that’s what war is. It’s brutal. It’s ugly. It’s messy. I’ve said that before. President also said that yesterday. Doesn’t mean we have to like it. And it doesn’t mean that we’re dismissing anyone of those casualties each and every one is a tragedy in its own right…It would be helpful if Hamas would let [Gazans] leave….We know that there are thousands waiting to leave Gaza writ large and Hamas is preventing them from doing it. That is what is harsh.”
The Biden administration has faced internal division among staff who feel alienated because they sympathize with Palestinians over Israelis, according to reports. One State Department official resigned in protest of Biden’s support for Israel.
And then there is the ‘Hamas wing’ of the Democratic Party led by Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Somali-American Rep. Ilhan Omar (R-MN).
Biden and the Democrats could ill-afford to lose even a small percentage of voters next year to independent progressive candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West. A poll reported on by Fox this week shows both men taking several points away from Biden as well as President Trump (excerpt):
According to the Suffolk University/USA Today poll released Monday, 37% of registered voters said they would support Biden and 36% said they would support Trump. However, independent presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cornel West also garnered significant support — 13% and 4% respectively.
The support for Kennedy came largely from independent voters (23%), but he also drew large chunks of support from Republicans (9%) and Democrats (7%). West did the same with Democrats (6%) and independents (5%), as well as 2% of Republicans.