A tumultuous withdrawal from Afghanistan gave independents a reason to ditch Biden. The conflict in Israel and Gaza could do the same thing for Democrats.

  • Biden's disapproval ratings did not surpass his approval ratings until he withdrew from Afghanistan.

  • The flip, in large part, happened specifically because a large amount of independents opposed.

  • Similarly, Democrats have increasingly disapproved of Biden since Hamas attacked Israel.

For the first seven months of President Joe Biden's presidency, the chief executive coasted in national approval polls.

Month after month, an average of his national approval ratings stayed double digits above his disapproval ratings. That is, until the US began its process of completely withdrawing its military forces from Afghanistan, coinciding with Biden's approval ratings consistently declining in that same period of time.

After the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, in mid-August of 2021 and 13 US soldiers were killed assisting with the withdrawal on August 26, 2021, Biden's disapproval ratings finally overtook his approval ratings, a trend he's yet to be able to flip, namely due to a near-twenty-percentage-point downswing among independents.

Biden approval October 2023 Gallup

Democrats also notably appear to have dropped their support for Biden amidst the Afghanistan withdrawal to the tune of around ten percentage points, about half the drop of the independent voters.

A new war, however, has emerged in recent weeks that could be just as consequential to Biden's reelection chances if not more so than the tumultuous Afghanistan withdrawal: Israel's fight against Hamas following the group's terrorist attacks against civilians in early October.

While Biden's approval ratings amongst Republicans have remained level since the war began, his support from Democrats has dropped approximately ten percentage points in recent weeks, from around 85% approval to 75%.

The drop in support is unlikely to come from those who believe Biden isn't doing enough to support the Jewish state —  Biden's already asked Congress for $14.3 billion in aid for Israel and personally flew to the country to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and show his support.

A recent YouGov survey offers a clue as to why Biden's approval rating amongst Democrats is falling.

After asking 1,000 US citizens, the pollster found that Democrats were slightly more likely than Republicans and independents to sympathize with Palestinians in the war than Israelis.

The survey also found that Democrats said they sympathized "equally" with both groups at a notably higher rate than independents or Republicans as well.

With Democrats appearing to sympathize with Palestinian people at a higher rate than Independents and Republicans, it's unsurprising to see Biden's approval rating from the left decline as Israel continues to bomb the Gaza Strip.

The bombings have led many of those living in the Gaza Strip to lose vital access to water, electricity, and access to critical life-saving aid, ultimately leading thousands of Gazans to desperately loot a UN warehouse in the region over the weekend for any food or supplies.

Since Hamas' initial attack on October 7th, more than 8,000 Palestinian people have been killed by Israeli forces in retaliation to Hamas' terrorist attacks, most reportedly being women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The number of casualties in Gaza, however, could be far higher as many still remain trapped beneath the rubble of their homes following bombings by the Israeli military.

By comparison, around 1,400 Israeli citizens have been killed and more than 200 have been kidnapped by Hamas in the same time span.

Additionally, it's not as if Democratic voters are alone in pushing for a ceasefire: Thirteen Democrats in the House have already come out in support of a ceasefire, a number that could rise as Israel purportedly plans a ground invasion into Gaza soon.

Given that Biden just narrowly bested former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election by just a few hundred thousand votes in key states (including Michigan, which includes the largest Arabic-speaking population among metro areas in the country), the ongoing war in Israel could spell disaster for the Democrat's reelection campaign.

Working in his favor, however, is the fact that the election is more than a year away, more than enough time to at least partially quell some of the backlash.

While it's too soon to say if this international incident will be Biden's most everlasting legacy, it very well may be the one that most affects his ability to stay in the White House.

Read the original article on Business Insider