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Biden Struggles To Retain Young Michigan Voters’ Support Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

James King, MPA
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President Joe Biden is grappling with significant political challenges among young voters in Michigan, a key battleground state, seven months after the start of the Israel-Hamas war. A recent CNN project, which aims to understand the perspectives of voters in crucial voting blocs, has exposed deep-seated concerns about Biden’s handling of the conflict.

Interviews with University of Michigan graduates Jade Gray and Anushka Jalisatgi, former co-presidents of the campus College Democrats, reveal a growing sense of unease about the state’s political landscape. “Michigan is up for grabs, and I did not think I would be saying this right now,” Gray admitted, expressing genuine concern about the state’s direction.

The emergence of a pro-Gaza encampment on campus during the final weeks of the school year has become a defining moment for many young voters. Jalisatgi stressed that “Joe Biden has the ability to make sure that there isn’t [an encampment]” and called on the president to advocate for a cease-fire and pay attention to student voters nationwide.

In the 2020 election, younger voters were instrumental in Biden’s victory in Michigan, with exit polls indicating that he secured 61% of voters aged 18-29. However, the recent campus unrest has eroded enthusiasm for voting for Biden among this age group.

Summer Matkin, a Wayne State student, voiced concerns about Biden’s age and his approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict, saying, “I think he has handled everything with Israel and Palestine terribly.” Although she still favors voting for Biden, Matkin and many of her friends are exploring third-party alternatives.

As the 2024 presidential election draws nearer, Biden’s capacity to regain the trust and support of young voters in Michigan may be crucial in securing a second term in office.