Gaza Isn’t Root of Biden’s Struggles With Young Voters, Polls Show

Young Americans’ outrage over the Israel-Hamas war has dominated the political conversation for weeks. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have made pilgrimages to Columbia University and other campuses to offer support to demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza or to denounce them, and President Biden addressed the upheavals in remarks on Thursday.

But these headlines are not reflective of young voters’ top concerns this election year, according to recent polls. Surveys taken in recent months show young voters are more likely to sympathize with Palestinians in the conflict, but few of them rank the Israel-Hamas war among their top issues in the 2024 election. Like other voters, young people often put economic concerns at the top the list.

And while young voters are cooler to Mr. Biden than they were at the same point in 2020, there is little evidence that American support for the Israeli invasion of Gaza is a critical factor in their relative discontent.

“When you have two presidents that have the same stance on one issue, that automatically puts that issue — I hate to say lower down the list, because it’s obviously an important issue, but it doesn’t make it an issue where I’m going to choose Donald Trump over Joe Biden,” said Devon Schwartz, a student at the University of Texas at Austin.

A student of both Muslim and Jewish descent who is active in a campus group promoting interfaith dialogue, Mr. Schwartz, 19, thought the protests at his college, which have drawn police crackdowns, were “a historic moment.” And he said he would have liked the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is “more progressive on Israel” than Mr. Biden in November. But he plans to vote for him anyway.

“I want to see policy changes from Joe Biden,” he said. “I don’t want to vote for Donald Trump and then just see the same exact policies.”

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