U.S. President Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives for a meeting at the White House on December 13, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

After Bad Gaza Poll, Biden Told to Choose 'Option That Upholds Human Rights'

A New York Times/Sienna College survey found that the U.S. president's handling of the Gaza crisis is unpopular with voters across the political spectrum.

The New York Timessuggested Tuesday that U.S. President Joe Biden has "few politically palatable options" after a survey the newspaper conducted with Siena College showed that his handling of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip is broadly unpopular with the American electorate.

Matt Duss, a former foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), responded that Biden's choice is clear.

"He should choose the option that upholds human rights and international law, which is what he promised during his campaign," wrote Duss, executive vice president of the Center for International Policy. "Support a cease-fire."

The Times/Siena College poll of U.S. voters found that Biden's current approach—which has consisted of unconditional military support for Israel accompanied by mild calls for the protection of Gaza civilians and opposition to a lasting cease-fire—has just 33% support and 57% opposition.

Among young voters who were critical to Biden's 2020 victory over former President Donald Trump, the opposition is even more pronounced, with 73% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 saying they disapprove, according to the new survey. Forty-seven percent of young voters said they believe Biden is too supportive of Israel, while just 6% said he's too supportive of the Palestinians.

The survey's findings amplified concerns that, in addition to rendering himself complicit in genocide, Biden is alienating key elements of the Democratic base by arming the Israeli military as it carries out mass atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

"Yet another major poll finds that Biden is killing his own reelection bid with his inhumane and strategically nonsensical Gaza policy," Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, wrote on social media.

The survey was released ahead of an expected United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution calling for a "suspension of hostilities." A previous version of the resolution called for a "cessation of hostilities," but the text was reportedly watered down in an effort to prevent the U.S. from once again wielding its veto power.

As the Biden administration's opposition to a sustained cease-fire leaves the U.S. increasingly isolated on the world stage, the Times/Siena College poll found that 44% of U.S. voters—including 59% of Democrats—believe Israel should "stop its military campaign in order to protect against civilian casualties, even if not all Israeli hostages have been released."

Sixty-five percent of Democratic voters believe Israel should stop its assault on Gaza to prevent additional civilian deaths "even if Hamas has not been fully eliminated" in line with the Israeli government's stated objective.

During a meeting last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan reportedly urged the far-right leader to transition to a "lower intensity" form of warfare in Gaza "in a matter of weeks, not months," the latest signal that the Biden administration is feeling domestic and international pressure as the humanitarian catastrophe worsens and the death toll climbs.

"I don't want to see any baby die. So, first of all, we've got to take that on. We've got to get a cease-fire. This has to stop."

Shira Lurie, assistant professor of American History at Saint Mary's University, warned in an op-ed for the Toronto Star on Monday that Biden's continued arming of Israel and opposition to a permanent cease-fire "could have severe ramifications in the electoral college" in 2024 "as several key states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, have significant Muslim populations."

A lawmaker from one of those states, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), said in an NBC News interview on Sunday that "there's a lot that has to be done" for Biden to win back the votes of those who are furious over his support for Israel's decimation of Gaza.

"All of us in this country need to understand what's happening in Gaza right now. You can fight about how many thousands of people have been killed, but 6,000 to 8,000 children have been killed," said Dingell. "Eighty-five percent of the people in Gaza have had to leave their homes. They're living in shelters. Disease is going up. There's one toilet for 220 people, one shower for 4,500 people. They don't have food. They don't have medicine. They don't have utilities."

"I can't tell you the number of families that I've spoken to who've lost entire families," she continued. "We've got to show some empathy and compassion. A Jewish baby and a Palestinian baby are babies. I don't want to see any baby die. So, first of all, we've got to take that on. We've got to get a cease-fire. This has to stop."

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