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Biden’s Election Prospects Affected by Controversy Surrounding Israel Policy

Joe Biden’s campaign and top Democratic officials have pledged to intensify their efforts to regain the support of former backers after encountering a more robust protest vote than anticipated in the Michigan primary, primarily related to the president’s stance on Israel.

Approximately 13.2% of Michigan Democrats opted for “uncommitted” in the nominating contest, exceeding expectations and reaching over 101,000 votes with 85% of the votes counted. This surge was attributed to a concerted push by activists protesting Biden’s unwavering support for Israel during its conflict with Hamas.

Turnout in the Democratic primary was high, with around 900,000 voters, and 81% of them supported Biden. The president’s firm backing of Israel had triggered organized resistance among progressive Democrats and Arab Americans, particularly in Michigan.

Activists urged voters to choose “uncommitted” to signal dissatisfaction with Biden’s approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Their goal was 10,000 votes, historically a low figure. In 2012, Michigan’s Democratic primary saw 20,000 uncommitted votes when a Democratic president was up for reelection.

Biden narrowly won Michigan in 2020, and polls now suggest a tight race with likely Republican candidate Donald Trump, who leads in some polls.

Despite the setback, the Biden campaign remains undeterred, vowing to reach out to uncommitted voters and the broader Michigan constituency. They emphasized Biden’s commitment to peace in the Middle East.

The Michigan Democratic officials acknowledged the need to do more to win over voters and signaled a shift to the general election effort, including door knocking, phone banking, and opening offices statewide.

The ongoing concerns about the Middle East conflict and Biden’s approval ratings, coupled with age-related worries, add complexity to the election landscape. Trump’s legal troubles and a potential sign of weakness, with 35% of Republicans supporting Nikki Haley in the primary, are also noteworthy.

The issue of U.S. support for Israel and the Middle East conflict is expected to remain prominent in the lead-up to the presidential election, especially with the rising death toll in Gaza and the U.S. seeking additional aid for Israel.

In the face of these challenges, the Biden campaign aims to present a compelling case for the president’s record compared to Trump’s in the State of the Union address on March 7.

The Michigan primary results underscore the importance of addressing key issues such as voting rights, gun violence, and reproductive rights, as highlighted by Vice President Kamala Harris. However, the statement did not specifically mention the Middle East.

Organizers of the uncommitted campaign plan to continue advocating for their anti-war agenda at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

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