Poll Finds Most College Students Against Anti-Israel Protest Tactics
Pro-Palestinian supporters continue to demonstrate with a protest encampment on the campus of Columbia University on April 30, 2024 in New York City.
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A new poll found that most U.S. college students do not support the tactics used in the anti-Israel protests taking place on campuses nationwide that have raised concerns about the safety of Jewish students.

Results from a Generation Lab survey conducted over the past week found that an overwhelming majority of the respondents — 90% — were against protesters blocking pro-Israel students from parts of campus. Another 67% did not approve of occupying buildings, and 58% rejected attempts to refuse a university’s order to disperse.

Most students — 81% — said universities definitely or probably should hold protesters accountable for destroying, vandalizing, or illegally occupying buildings.


The survey found that a majority of the students were either neutral or opposed to the protest encampments altogether. 30% signaled they were neutral on the topic, and 24% were strongly or a bit opposed.

A strong majority of the respondents, 83%, say they think Israel has a right to exist, while just 17% said they do not believe it does. A majority also did not express support for the idea of boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning any investment or partnership with companies and groups based in Israel, while 46% support it.

The poll also found that less than ten percent of the students actually participated in either the protests or counterprotests. Just 8% of the 1,250 U.S. college students who took the survey said they have participated in either pro-Israel demonstrations or protests against Israeli action in Gaza, and only 13% said the conflict was an issue that was most important to them. That lags far behind the leader — healthcare reform at 40% — and several others.

Sixty-four percent of students who participated in or support the pro-Israel protests said they would still consider being friends with someone who has demonstrated against Israel. Less than half — 42% — of those who participated in or favor the protests against Israel said the same about people who demonstrate for Israel.

Axios, which first reported the results of the poll on Tuesday, said the survey was conducted from May 3-6 with a representative sample taken from universities around the country. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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