A majority of American college students blame Hamas for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and two-thirds describe the attack as an act of terrorism by Hamas, according to a Generation Lab poll of two- and four-year college students.
The findings come as debates over the attack — which killed more than 1,400 in Israel, and which prompted by an Israeli response killing more than 2,800 in Gaza — have roiled college campuses across the county, with some students garnering national attention for blaming Israel's treatment of Palestinians for the attack.
The poll finds 86% of college students saying they’re aware of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. And of that share, 67% describe the attack as an act of terrorism by Hamas, versus 12% who see it as a justified act of resistance by Hamas. Another 21% describe it as something else other than an act of terrorism or resistance.
More than half, 52%, of the college students who say they’re aware of the Oct. 7 attack blame it on Hamas. Another 11% blame it on Israel, 12% blame it on other Middle Eastern governments and another 25% blame it on someone else.
But respondents who are Democrats or who are students of color are less likely to blame Hamas for the attack than Republicans and white students are.
By party, 73% of Republicans, 50% of Democrats and 50% of independents say they blame Hamas for the attack on Israel.
And by race, 58% of white college students, 47% of Latinos and 36% of Black college students believe Hamas deserves blame for the attack.
The Generation Lab poll was conducted Oct. 11-16 of 978 two- and four-year college students, and the survey has an overall margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. Among the 833 respondents who say they are aware of the attack, the margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.4 percentage points.