New Harvard Caps / Harris Poll Reveals: U.S. Voter Preferences on Israel and Ukraine Support

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.18 - 2023 8:44 PM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Voter Preferences on Israel and Ukraine Support.

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In a recent revelation by Stagwell Inc., the December Harvard CAPS / Harris poll has brought to light some intriguing shifts in American public opinion, particularly regarding foreign policy and domestic issues. The poll, a collaboration between the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard and the Harris Poll and HarrisX, offers a comprehensive look at the current sentiments of U.S. voters.

Strong Support for Israel and Ukraine

One of the most striking findings of the poll is the significant support among American voters for the U.S. to back Israel and Ukraine. A substantial 65% of voters believe the U.S. should support Israel in its conflict with Hamas, and an equal percentage think the U.S. should back Ukraine in its war against Russia. This bipartisan consensus extends to financial aid, with 54% supporting a $14 billion aid package to Israel and 49% in favor of an additional $50 billion in aid to Ukraine. Interestingly, the poll reveals a partisan divide in these preferences, with Republicans more inclined to support aid to Israel and Democrats favoring aid to Ukraine.

The poll also sheds light on the generational divide in views on the Israel-Hamas conflict. While 81% of all voters side with Israel, only half of the 18-24 age group share this sentiment, viewing Jews more as oppressors. This gap extends to university policies, with a majority of voters feeling that university presidents have not done enough to condemn antisemitism, a view less shared by the younger demographic.

Domestic Challenges and Economic Outlook

On domestic issues, President Joe Biden's approval rating stands at 43%, with a slight uptick in economic sentiment. However, his approval rating on immigration has dropped 8 points to 38% over the last month. The poll indicates that 57% of voters favor former President Trump's immigration policies over Biden's. This is underscored by a lack of awareness among voters about the scale of illegal border crossings, with only 8% correctly estimating that over 3 million people have crossed the border illegally in the past year.

Economic perceptions are showing signs of improvement, with 44% of voters now viewing the economy as strong, a 6-point increase over the past six months. Despite this, a majority of 55% feel they are worse off under Biden's presidency, compared to 61% who felt better off during Trump's tenure. Inflation remains a top concern, chosen by 40% of voters as the most important issue personally.

2024 Presidential Race and Public Demand for Transparency

In the 2024 presidential race, former President Trump maintains a lead over Biden, with a 5-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup and a 7-point lead when including third-party candidates. The poll also reveals widespread doubts about both candidates, with 56% believing Trump would act like a dictator if reelected, and 72% thinking a vote for Biden is effectively a vote for Vice President Kamala Harris, due to doubts about Biden completing a full second term.

Lastly, the poll indicates a strong public desire for transparency, with 81% of voters, including 72% of Democrats, believing Hunter Biden should agree to a congressional deposition to explain his business dealings.

The December Harvard CAPS / Harris poll, conducted online within the United States on December 13-14, 2023, among 2,034 registered voters, offers a revealing snapshot of the current American political climate, highlighting the complexities and divisions shaping public opinion.

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