Most in new survey have negative view of pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses

Most people in a new survey say they have a negative view of the pro-Palestinian protests happening on college campuses across the country.

The poll, conducted by YouGov, found that 50 percent of respondents said they oppose the recent protests. Twenty-six percent say they support the demonstrations, while 25 percent said they weren’t sure how they felt about them.

While most Americans said they’ve heard about the arrests on campus, respondents tend to be “not sure” about how to feel about many different aspects of the protests.

Thirty-eight percent said they believe the protests are nonviolent, while 30 percent said they think the demonstrations are violent. Thirty-two percent said they’re not sure.

When asked about how university administrators responded to the protests, 33 percent said they aren’t sure. Another third said administrators’ responses have not been harsh enough, while 16 percent said it’s been too harsh of a response. Eighteen percent said it’s about right.

Schools across the country have called on campus police and local law enforcement to come disperse on-campus demonstrations and encampments, resulting in more than 2,000 arrests nationwide.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they aren’t sure what to think about the police response to the protests. Twenty-five percent said it hasn’t been harsh enough, and another 25 percent said it’s about right. About 21 percent said the police response, which has included pepper spray at some colleges, has been too harsh.

The protests began last month at Columbia University and spread to more than 400 colleges across the country. Students and community members have called on their universities to divest from Israeli companies or companies that supply weapons to Israel.

When asked what they think about universities selling their investments with ties to Israel, 42 percent said they aren’t sure. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they’re opposed to colleges selling investments with Israeli ties, while 23 percent say they’re in favor of it.

The YouGov survey was conducted Sunday through Tuesday among 1,813 adults and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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