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Voters divided over what U.S. should do in foreign conflicts

Voters divided over what U.S. should do in foreign conflicts


As President Joe Biden and Congressional Republicans debate the spending package meant to provide aid to Israel and Ukraine, a new Fox News survey finds voters divided over what role the U.S. should play related to the wars in the two countries.

For Israel, 30% think the U.S. supports it too much, while 27% say it is not enough.  The largest number, 38%, say U.S. support is about right.

There is a 6-point increase since November in those saying the U.S. is not supportive enough and that’s driven entirely by Republicans (+11 points).

Overall, a majority of 61% supports the Israelis, yet that’s down from 66% in November and 68% in October, at the outset of the war.  

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Fox News Poll

That decline in support can be mostly attributed to Democrats (-8 points), nonwhite voters (-8), and women (-6). Just under half of Democrats (48%) support the Israelis, while a third (33%) support the Palestinians.  Just over three-quarters (76%) of Republicans support Israelis.

Still, the decrease does not translate into support for the Palestinians, as the 23% who side more with them has held steady compared to a month ago. Instead, more are unsure (6%) or don’t back either side (10%). 

When it comes to Ukraine, 31% think the U.S. should be doing more to help in their war with Russia and 30% say the U.S. should be doing less.  Thirty-five percent believe the current level of support is right.

Fox News Poll

Since November, there has been a 10-point surge in those thinking the U.S. should be doing more to help President Zelenskyy’s country. Both Democrats (+13) and Republicans (+7) are more likely to think there should be additional help for Ukraine

Zelenskyy made a last-minute push Tuesday to convince Washington lawmakers to aid his embattled country. President Biden’s spending package that would send help to both Ukraine and Israel is stalled in Congress as Republicans seek to tie the funding to stronger border security policies. 

“If this gambit by Republicans doesn’t work, Congress will be moving Ukraine funding into the same category as border security – something Americans want, but that Congress won’t deliver,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw.

Biden’s job rating on both conflicts is underwater.  Thirty-seven percent approve his handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while 59% disapprove, for a net negative rating of 22.  Biden is negative 27 points on the Israel-Hamas war (33% approve, 60% disapprove). And while he’s still underwater on national security by 11 points (43% approve, 54% disapprove), that makes it one of Biden’s better issues.

On Congress, 1 in 5 approve of the job it’s doing (19%) while three-quarters disapprove (77%), similar to findings from September. 

Despite the foreign conflicts in the headlines daily, just 3% of voters say foreign policy is the most important issue facing the country – landing it last in a list of 9 issues. The top concerns are the economy (35%) and immigration/border security (19%).

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On Biden’s handling of relations with Iran, half feel it makes the U.S. less safe (50%). Another 1 in 10 say it makes the U.S. safer (12%), while a third says it doesn’t make a difference (34%).  

Republicans drive the unsafe number with 79% feeling that way.

“It is unlikely that many Americans understand the particulars of Iran’s role in supporting Hamas and Hezbollah,” says Shaw. “But there seems to be a sense among voters that U.S. efforts to bolster so-called moderates in Iran over the past decade have not worked.”

Nearly four years ago, 27% felt President Trump’s handling of relations with Iran made the U.S. safer while 48% said less safe.  Nineteen percent said it didn’t make a difference.

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Fox News Poll

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Conducted Dec. 10-13, 2023, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll included interviews with 1,007 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.



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