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Poll: Over a quarter of Democrats feel Biden administration too supportive of Israel

Figure is at 9% among Republicans; meanwhile, 33% of Democrats support the pro-Palestinian BDS movement, compared to 9% of Republicans

Then-US vice president Mike Pence speaks at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference at Washington Convention Center, on March 5, 2018, in Washington, DC (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Then-US vice president Mike Pence speaks at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference at Washington Convention Center, on March 5, 2018, in Washington, DC (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

New US polling has found over a quarter of Democrats feel the party’s policies are overly supportive of Israel.

The University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll asked respondents a range of questions covering topics such as US policy on Israel and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The poll found that 57 percent of respondents did not know the position of the US administration on Israel. Of those who did express an opinion, 26% of Democrats felt that government policy was more skewed towards Israel than their own views, only 3% felt the policy was overly favorable toward Palestinians, and 15% said policies matched their views.

Meanwhile, 44% of Republicans felt the Biden administration leaned more toward Palestinians than their own views, while 9% felt it leaned more toward Israel.

The poll also sought to gauge attitudes relating to the controversial BDS movement. Respondents were asked whether they had a view on BDS, and if so, what was it.

Thirty-four percent of all respondents said they didn’t know what BDS was, while 18% said they were neither for nor against the movement. Of those with a clear opinion, 20% were supportive and 28% were opposed.

US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid before departing Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on July 15, 2022 for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Attitudes on BDS showed a clear partisan split, with 33% of Democrats supporting the movement, as opposed to just 9% of Republicans who support it. Republican opposition to BDS was at 50%, whereas Democrat opposition was at just 10%. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats either did not know what BDS was or had no stance, compared to 41% of Republicans.

Given the rise of state anti-BDS laws around the US, respondents were asked whether they were supportive of such legislation.

Pro-Israel demonstrators protest against Ben & Jerry’s over its boycott of the West Bank, and against antisemitism, in Manhattan, New York City, on August 12, 2021 (Luke Tress/Flash90)

A total of 62% were opposed to anti-BDS laws, with 38% in favor of the laws.

Those who oppose the laws argue that imposing anti-BDS legislation is a violation of the free expression of political opinion. This argument is consistent with that of the Biden administration, which despite being “firmly” against the BDS movement maintains First Amendment rights on the issue.

The poll was conducted via Nielsen Scarborough among a national poll of 2,208 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 2.09%.

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