NEW NATIONAL POLL: Muslim-Americans Say Hamas Was Justified in Attacking Israel; Majority of Americans Say Iran Should be Held Accountable, Majority Support Israel’s Right to Self-defense

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 20, 2023) – Cygnal, the nation’s most accurate and fastest growing private polling firm, released new national poll data (conducted Oct. 16-18, 2023) on Americans’ views regarding the recent Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel and Jewish-Muslim relations in the wake of the unprecedented and gruesome attacks. The poll surveyed an oversample of Jewish and Muslim Americans. 

“Our latest national poll on the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorists reveal some interesting splits among Americans as well as reinforce some common divides we’ve previously seen in Jewish-Muslim relations,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s President. “Our latest data shows that while the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinian people are not new to the American people, we have entered an equivalent to the post-September 11th era and the sentiment among our citizens from this point forward will largely be guided by this sad and dark moment in history. This is not just due to their knowledge of the always tense relations in Israel and the region as a whole, but also because of the added dynamics of Iran’s involvement, President Biden’s visit to Israel, and an overall acknowledgement that we have surpassed critical inflection points which threaten to fuel the conflict further.” 

Below are the top five takeaways from our poll on these issues: 

  1. Joe Biden and the leader of the terrorist organization Hamas have similar unfavorability among Americans. While Muslims have a higher view of the leader of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that Jews or other Americans, they have almost as equally as high a view of Israeli PM Netanyahu
  1. Hamas is largely seen as about the same as Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS (60% about the same among each), while roughly a third say Hamas is worse than the other three terrorist groups. Muslim-Americans tend to agree, though they slightly over-index for saying Hamas is not as bad as each of the other three terrorist organizations. 
  1. A majority of Muslim-Americans agree that Israel has a right to defend itself, but in stark contrast to other demographic groups, a majority disagree that Israel should invade Gaza, and a majority agree that Hamas was justified in its attack on Israel. 
  1. On the topic of the level of aid the U.S. should provide for Israel, a majority agree that the U.S. should stand strongly with Israel, the U.S. should provide financial support, and that Iran should be held accountable for the actions of Hamas against Israel. 
  1. The general population is largely split on whether the U.S. should directly engage its military to support Israel. There is also nearly even agreement and disagreement for whether support for Israel is more important than support for Ukraine

“The added dynamic of financial and military aide to Ukraine may seem like a complication for media pundits and elected officials but the American people seem to have clarity on the separation of the two issues,” Buchanan said. “With a majority of the American people believing that Antisemitism in the U.S. is on the rise, including 80% of Jewish-Americans and 30% of Muslim-Americans, the connection to Ukraine financial and military support is simply not sticking in the minds of most Americans. Our data clearly articulates this point and indicates lawmakers would be wise to tackle each issue on their own merits instead of conflating the complexities of these conflicts within the legislative process.”