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Young Americans Support Biden, Ceasefire in Gaza in Latest Harvard IOP Youth Poll

By William C. Mao and Dhruv T. Patel, Crimson Staff Writers

Young Americans supported a permanent ceasefire in Gaza by a five-to-one ratio, according to the latest iteration of the Harvard Institute of Politics Youth Poll.

The poll — released by the Harvard Public Opinion Project Thursday morning— found that 51 percent of respondents supported a ceasefire, while only 10 percent opposed it.

From March 14 to March 21, HPOP conducted a national survey of 2,010 young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29.

Though young Americans expressed broad support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, respondents were split along party lines on whether Israel’s response to the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 was justified. According to the poll, 36 percent of Republicans approved of Israel’s actions, while 44 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of independents disapproved.

Only 38 percent of young Americans said they followed the news about the ongoing war in Gaza closely, but the figure rises to 45 percent among registered voters.

In relation to the upcoming 2024 presidential election, the poll found that President Joe Biden leads former President Donald Trump by 13 percentage points in a head-to-head contest — down 2 percentage points from December 2023.

In a hypothetical race with third-party candidates — including third-party candidates Jill E. Stein ’73, former Harvard professor Cornel R. West ’74, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. ’76 — Biden’s lead narrowed to a 7 percentage point advantage over Trump.

“Make no mistake, this is a different youth electorate than we saw in 2020 and 2022, and young voters are motivated by different things,” IOP polling director John Della Volpe said in a press release.

Biden’s chances in 2024 could be significantly influenced by Trump’s ongoing legal struggles, according to the poll. If Trump is found guilty, Biden’s lead among likely young American voters would widen from 19 to 28 percentage points.

The poll also found that while Biden’s lead among women has remained the same since 2020, it has fallen by nearly 20 percentage points among men.

Across other issues, only 9 percent of young Americans said they believe the US is “generally headed in the right direction” — down 11 percentage points from spring 2020.

IOP Director Setti D. Warren said in a press release that “young people today have clear concerns about where our country is headed.”

“From worries about the economy, foreign policy, immigration, and climate, young people across the country are paying attention and are increasingly prepared to make their voices heard at the ballot box this November,” he added.

A majority of young Americans, 53 percent, believed the U.S. is experiencing an immigration crisis at the Southern border — another key issue in the 2024 elections. Despite these concerns, a plurality opposed the construction of a border wall and disagreed that immigrants boost crime and take jobs from Americans. A 50 percent majority of young Americans also believed that immigrants improve culture in the U.S.

The poll also focused on higher education, finding that one-third of young Americans feel uncomfortable sharing their political opinions on college campuses. This figure, however, represents only a nominal 3 percentage point increase from 2017.

—Staff writer William C. Mao can be reached at Follow him on X @williamcmao.

—Staff writer Dhruv T. Patel can be reached at Follow him on X @dhruvtkpatel.

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