HomeTop StoriesThe parties are divided over aid to Israel and Ukraine

The parties are divided over aid to Israel and Ukraine

Most Americans sympathize with both Israeli and Palestinian peoplebut sympathy for the Israelis is greater, and most of the support consists of providing military aid and weapons to Israel.

Support for sending weapons and military aid to Israel is mainly driven by Republicans. Democrats are more divided, with the party’s very liberal wing most in opposition.

A similar majority of Americans support sending weapons and military aid to Ukraine, but the partisan lines are opposite, with a large majority of Democrats supporting it and Republicans more divided. Here, a small majority of Republicans are against military aid.

Israel-Hamas conflict

While there is at least some sympathy for both the Israeli and Palestinian people in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, that sympathy is not given equally. More Americans say they sympathize with Israelis, and the level of sympathy is also higher: Americans have almost twice as much sympathy for the Israeli people as they do for the Palestinians.

Beneath these overall percentages are partisan divisions over how Americans view the conflict.

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Democrats show equal sympathy for both groups, while Republicans have much more sympathy for Israelis in comparison. Half of Republicans say they don’t have much – or any sympathy – for the Palestinian people.

Democrats with a college degree tend to have more sympathy for the Palestinian people than Democrats without a degree; both groups express sympathy for Israel equally. There is little difference in this measure among Republicans in terms of education level.

There is more bipartisan agreement on sending weapons and military aid to Israel – something a majority of Americans agree with – and those most sympathetic to the Israeli people are the most in favor of sending military aid .

Here too, Republicans are more united than Democrats on this measure. Opposition is strongest among Democrats who have four-year college degrees, who describe themselves as “very liberal” and among those who are relatively more sympathetic to the Palestinian people.

War in Ukraine

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By comparison, a similar percentage of Americans believe the U.S. should send weapons and military aid to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, but here the partisan divides are reversed, with a large majority of Democrats agreeing and most Republicans opposed. Among Republicans, it is the self-described ‘MAGA’ Republicans who express slightly more opposition.

Views on the American approach to foreign policy

Americans across the political spectrum believe that the U.S. should try to stay out of other countries’ affairs, rather than trying to solve problems around the world. When the US does have to act, an overwhelming majority would like to see the US work with allies as much as possible rather than acting alone. Not surprisingly, those who see America playing a greater role in solving problems around the world and want the US to work with allies rather than go it alone are more in favor of sending military aid to both Israel as Ukraine.

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A majority also prefers that the US promote American ideals rather than project its military power, but here there is more division. Republicans – most of whom care about the US being both feared and respected – are divided over whether the US should emphasize its ideals or its military might. Three in four Democrats — who care more about being liked than being feared — favor advancing American ideals.

This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,636 adult U.S. residents interviewed between October 30 and November 3, 2023. The sample was weighted by gender, age, race and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past voting. The margin of error is ±2.6 points.

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