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Biden Warned about Soft Support by Young Voters

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a town hall hosted by the Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33 in Des Moines, Iowa. By Gage Skidmore.

Despite big wins for Democrats across the country on Tuesday, including a Democratic hold in the governor’s race in the very red state of Kentucky, 2024 polls continue to look not very good for President Biden. 

A CNN poll, released on the same day as the election, has former President Donald Trump leading Biden 49 percent to 45 percent. And among the cross tabs in that poll that look bad for the president, Biden is now losing voters younger than 35, by a 48-to-47 percent margin. Biden had won that vote by more than 20 points in 2020. 

Youth on Israel

Even before the CNN poll was released, Biden had been warned about his weakness with younger voters, according to an NBC News report this week. And that was specifically in relation to his position on the Israel-Gaza war. 

NBC reported on the existence of an open letter, written to the president by the leaders of several progressive groups, including March For Our Lives, GenZ for Change, United We Dream Action, and the Sunrise Movement, warning the president that he is losing support among the young people they represent. 

“We mobilized the record youth turnout in 2020 that pushed your ticket over the finish line in key swing states. Many of us worked to provide the critical source of support for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections that prevented the Red Wave. We have been preparing to mobilize the youth vote again as you face your re-election,” the letter states. 

“We write to you to issue a very stark and unmistakable warning: you and your Administration’s stance on Gaza risks millions of young voters staying home or voting third party next year. We are pleading with you to use every tool available to you to broker a ceasefire, now, and to revive the peace process.”

Biden on Israel

The Biden Administration’s strategy has been to mostly back Israel publicly, following the October 7 massacre in that country, while also arguing behind the scenes for Israel to use restraint in its response. A massive aid package has also been proposed, although not passed by both houses of Congress yet. 

Biden visited Israel days after the killings on October 7, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken has visited the region more than once in the last month, to meet with allies in various Middle Eastern countries. Biden has also called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting. 

However, the president’s left flank has taken a more fully pro-Palestinian position in the conflict, while also calling for a full ceasefire. 

“As we write this, over 1,400 Israelis, 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza, and 100 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been killed. We came of age during two decades of endless war that cost thousands of American lives and millions of lives around the world. We know that the longer you allow the siege of Gaza to continue, the greater the risk of this spiraling into a broader regional conflict, potentially pulling U.S. troops into combat or occupation. This would be both a moral and political disaster,” the letter from the groups says. 

Whether this issue will continue to hurt Biden in the 2024 election remains to be seen. While the hostilities in Israel appear likely to continue for quite a while, it’s not clear whether the conflict will still be at the top of most young voters’ minds a year from now, when it’s time to vote. 

Then again, Trump’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be considered any more pro-Palestinian than Biden’s. 

“For the sake of Palestinians, Israelis, morality, humanity, your own political future, and American democracy itself: we urge you to do everything in your power to stop the current cycle of violence and move from the path of war towards the path of peace and justice,” the letter said. “Call for a ceasefire and a safe return for all hostages. Stand up for humanity on the international stage. Do not continue to enable war crimes through word, deed, or dollars.”

Author Expertise and Experience

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.

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Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.