Biden’s Israel-Hamas Stance Key in Michigan's 2024 Race

By Jonathan Draeger
Published On: Last updated 05/16/2024, 05:46 PM EDT

According to current polls, Michigan is likely to be one of three true swing states that will decide the 2024 election. Polls from earlier this year indicated former President Trump had a significant lead in the state, but as President Joe Biden adjusts his stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, polls now indicate a much closer election.

For most of January, Trump had a 5.3-point lead in the Michigan RCP Average, 46% to 40.7%. However, Biden's low percentage might have reflected similar factors that caused 13.2% to vote “uncommitted” in the Michigan Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 27, as a protest against Biden’s support of Israel in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Currently, Trump is polling at 46% in the Michigan RCP Average, while Biden's numbers have improved significantly, now polling at 45.2% in the state.

This change is likely to be in part due to Biden’s shifting stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. For example, after the Michigan presidential primary, he was overheard on a saying he would have a “come to Jesus meeting” with Benjamin Netanyahu about humanitarian aid to Gaza. Although he signed the aid package on April 24 that provided $15 billion to Israel and the Israeli military, Democrats ensured it included $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid in Gaza.

More recently, the Biden administration halted a munitions shipment as Israel began an incursion into Rafah. On May 8, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that a shipment of bombs to Israel was paused. “We’ve been very clear ... that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack into Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battlespace,” he said in a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing.

on May 9, saying, “If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah.” Given Michigan's large Muslim population, Biden’s increasing vocal support for Palestinians could help him in the state in November.

Biden’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict will, therefore, be critical for the presidential election as Michigan will be a key swing state in 2024. When Trump won in 2016, Michigan favored Trump by just 0.3 points. Biden then won the state in 2020 with a 2.8-point lead. For the 2024 election, if Trump wins all the southern swing states – Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina, and Georgia – where he is currently leading by at least 4.5 points, he needs to win one of the three northern swing states: Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania.

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