Battleground voters trust Trump over Biden on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: poll

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Battleground voters trust Trump over Biden on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: poll

Battleground voters trust former President Trump over President Biden when it comes to handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a new poll.

The poll from New York Times and Siena College published on Sunday found 50 percent of registered voters across six battleground states chose Trump, while 39 percent picked Biden when asked who would “do a better job on” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Twelve percent said they did not know or refused to answer.

Pollsters found trust of Trump over Biden on the issue was highest in Pennsylvania, where the former president led Biden by 16 points, followed by Nevada where Biden fell behind Trump by 14 points. Trump led Biden by 11 points in Georgia and Arizona and by 12 points in Michigan. Trump’s lead over Biden was the lowest in Wisconsin with 3 points.

The numbers come about one month since militant group Hamas launched a violent incursion into Israel that killed over 1,400 people, including hundreds of civilians. Israel has responded with a bombardment of Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, that has killed over 10,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Biden was quick to condemn the “abhorrent” Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas and vowed “unwavering support” for Israel in the days that followed. The president travelled to Tel Aviv last month to speak with Israeli government and military leaders along with families of the victims.

In doing so, Biden created a sharp contrast with Trump, who came under fire for his criticism of the Israeli leadership in the wake of the attacks.

Trump made a series of controversial comments shortly after the attacks that bashed Israel’s apparent lack of preparedness, provoking the ire of some GOP lawmakers and rivals in the presidential race. The former president also called Hezbollah, which is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S., “very smart.”

Trump has previously drawn blowback for repeatedly blasting Jewish voters who support Biden.

“I can’t imagine how anybody who’s Jewish or anybody who loves Israel — and frankly, the evangelicals just love Israel — I can’t imagine anybody voting Democrat, let alone for this man, who’s totally — he was shot 30 years ago. He’s more shot now. But the problem was all caused by crooked Joe Biden,” Trump said last month.

As Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has ramped up, some on the left are growing increasingly discontent with Biden’s largely unqualified support of Israel and reluctance to call for a cease-fire.

The United Nations and leading humanitarian groups have advocated for a cease-fire in Gaza to allow aid to be delivered to civilians in the besieged territory and to get civilians out of harm’s way.

Biden and White House staff have advised Israel to minimize civilian casualties when targeting Hamas, though some Muslim voters say this isn’t enough.

After his visit to Tel Aviv last month, Biden sent a $105 billion emergency funding request to Congress that included $14.3 billion in aid for Israel. The package also included aid for Ukraine, security operations at the U.S.-Mexico border and allies in the Indo-Pacific.

The aid currently remains in limbo after the House GOP last week passed a stand-alone bill for Israel that includes the $14.3 billion in aid, along with deep cuts to the Internal Revenue Service, that is sure to be met with opposition from the Senate. The White House has already said Biden would veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

The New York Times/Siena College poll was conducted among 3,662 registered voters in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3, 2023. The margin of sampling error for each state is between 4.4 and 4.8 percentage points.