The 2024 general election is less than a year away, and the intention to vote among young Americans has decreased since 2020. According to a poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, citizens between the ages of 18 and 29 who plan on voting for Joe Biden decreased from 57% to 49% since the last election.

Experts point to a lack of trust in leaders on issues such as climate change, gun violence, the war in the Middle East, the economy, and Artificial Intelligence.

“As the 2024 campaign season kicks into high gear, candidates up and down the ballot would be wise to embrace the opportunity to listen to – and reengage – this generation,” IOP Director Setti Warren said.

Although polls show Biden ahead in the race against Donald Trump, securing the vote of young voters is crucial. Eight million more Gen Zers will be of voting age in 2024. According to Harvard, a decline in voting intention can be seen across all demographics of young Americans. However, this trend is especially noticeable among young Black and Hispanic Americans. In the Fall of 2019, 50% of young Black Americans intended to vote. That number decreased to 38% in Fall 2023.

Some experts believe that the stance taken by the White House on the Israel-Palestine conflict is to blame. The United States recently vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

“President Biden went above and beyond in not only supporting Israel but ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian people, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the national deputy executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told theGrio.

This creates a “risk” that could turn off young Black voters from voting for Biden.

Others agree.

“Young people are finally seeing the impact of America’s war machine,” Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University, Keesha Middlemass, told USA Today. “That’s what students are so fearful of ‒ is this blind loyalty without consideration of the rights of Palestinians to exist?”

Nearly 30% of pro-Palestinian rallies have been held on college campuses, according to a recent report by a consortium at Harvard University. HBCUs have been mainly instrumental in organizing public support for the Palestinian cause.

Mitchell says it isn’t all that surprising as some Black Americans may recognize similarities between the treatment of Palestinian civilians and decades of oppression of the Black community throughout American history and in South Africa. 

“We recognize the dehumanizing language that downplays people of color when they are victims of injustice while only recognizing white people when they are victims of injustice,” he said.

“Black Americans can certainly see the difference between how our government and the media responded when white-haired, blue-eyed Ukrainians started suffering violence under an illegal occupation,” Mitchell added, “compared to the reaction that we’ve seen from the media and politicians when Palestinians, who are people of color, have suffered violence under Israeli occupation.”