Watch Nidhi Razdan: Is Biden losing Arab-American voters in key US swing states? Video Credit: Gulf News

America’s strong support for Israel and its actions in Gaza are having a ripple effect on the US Presidential race. A new poll done by NBC News shows that President Joe Biden’s approval rating has declined to the lowest level of his presidency at just 40 per cent.

This is largely because 60 per cent of voters do not approve of his foreign policy, in particular his handling of the Middle East conflict. What would be especially worrying for the White House is that a whopping 70 per cent of young democrat voters between the ages of 18 to 34 disapprove of Biden’s handling of the Israel Hamas war and believe that Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza.

Even worse, the poll also finds that Joe Biden will fall behind Donald Trump if the election were held today. The Democrats are hoping the remaining 11 months till the election will change their fortunes. But it won’t be easy.

Biden’s age (he just turned 81) and general disapproval with the way he has handled key policy issues like student loans are already working against him. Now he’s also losing support among a key demographic over his foreign policy.

Just two months ago, 46 per cent of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 said they approved of Biden’s job performance. That has dropped to 31 per cent now.

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'This poll is a stunner'

NBC News quoted Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, as describing the poll results as a “stunner” especially since it is a foreign policy issue that does not involve US boots on the ground. “This poll is a stunner, and it’s stunning because of the impact the Israel-Hamas war is having on Biden,” he is quoted as saying by NBC News.

And there is another worry for Biden — the loss of support among Arab and Muslim Americans who have otherwise been traditional supporters of the Democratic Party.

As the war in Gaza has dragged on with mounting civilian casualties (many of them innocent children), anger is growing among Arab and Muslim Americans against the Biden administration’s backing of Israel. The decision of the United States to veto a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza has only made things worse.

A recent poll done by the Arab American Institute shows that support for Biden from Arab Americans, who are a critical demographic in some key battleground election states, has plunged from 59 per cent in 2020 to just 17 per cent now. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that the Democrats are not the party of choice for Arab American voters.

Test in major swing states

These voters are prominent in swing states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — states that could decide the 2024 presidential election.

Look at the example of Michigan, which flipped to the Democrats in 2020 and has one of the highest populations of Arab Americans. They form a key voter base numbering roughly 200,000. In a swing state like Michigan, these numbers will really matter in 2024.

Trump won this state by just 10,000 votes in 2016. Biden won it in 2020 by over 150,000 votes, with over 70 per cent of Arab Americans in the state voting for him.

It is unlikely that these voters, who are disillusioned with Biden today, would support Donald Trump. But even if they stay away from the polling booths next November and sit at home, it will inflict considerable damage to Joe Biden’s re-election bid.

For Biden, it’s a tough political choice. Jews also form a substantial voter base in the United States and can impact elections in other key states like Georgia.

According to Pew research, 1.1 million Arab Americans cast their vote in the 2020 election, while there are nearly 6 million Jews in the US. The next year will be tough campaign for Joe Biden and if he persists with a strong pro Israel stand, it may cost him the Presidency.