The Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton captured an overwhelming 70 percent of the Jewish vote in the election, according to a comprehensive exit poll published Wednesday. It was identical to the percentage of the Jewish vote won by Barack Obama four years ago.
The poll, conducted by GBA Strategies, was commissioned by J Street, a pro-Israel anti-occupation organization. The results show that the Republican candidate and president-elect Donald Trump won only 25 percent of the Jewish vote. Three percent went to Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2 percent to Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In the last election, 30 percent of American Jews voted for the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
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The breakdown of Jewish votes between Clinton and Trump was in line with an exit poll published earlier in the day by The New York Times. GBA conducted both a national survey and a survey of Jewish voters in the battleground state of Florida. The national survey results were based on responses of 731 self-identified Jewish voters, with a 3.6 percent margin of error. The Florida survey results were based on responses of 500 self-identified Jews with a 4.4 percent margin of error.
Non-Orthodox Jews supported Clinton at higher rates than Orthodox Jews, but the Democratic candidate came out ahead even in this sub-group. According to the poll, 76 percent of Reform Jews voted for Clinton, as opposed to 21 percent for Trump; 71 percent of Conservative Jews voted for Clinton, as opposed to 25 percent for Trump; and 56 percent of Orthodox Jews voted for Clinton, as opposed to 39 percent for Trump. Among those who identified as merely “just Jewish,” 67 percent voted for Clinton, as opposed to 26 percent for Trump.
The poll shows that Israel was not a key issue for Jewish voters in this election. Among the top 10 issues that influenced their votes, the economy, healthcare, and ISIS and terrorism headed the list. Israel came in only at No. 8.
On Mideast policy, 65 percent of American Jews said they supported the United States playing an active role in resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict. A small majority of 53 percent said they supported the United States applying pressure on Israel to make compromises for peace.
The poll shows that 81 percent of American Jews still support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, virtually unchanged from four years ago. Close to that share (78 percent) said that Israel should stop building in the West Bank settlements. A substantial majority of the Iranian nuclear deal.63 percent of American Jewish voters said they supported the Iranian nuclear deal.
Since 1972, Democratic presidential candidates have received between 64 and 80 percent of the Jewish vote, except for 1980. That year, the Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter received only 45 percent of the Jewish vote. In 1992, President Bill Clinton captured a record 80 percent of the Jewish vote. In his first term in office, Obama did slightly better among Jews than he did in his first term, winning 74 percent of their votes in 2008.
Among Jews who voted for Clinton, a substantial majority of 68 percent said they voted “for” their candidate, while 32 percent said they were voting “against” Trump. By contrast, a larger share of Jews who voted for Trump – 45 percent – said they were voting “against” Clinton.
The poll showed that American Jews have a far higher approval rating of the sitting president than their fellow nationals on average. Eighty percent of American Jews said they approved or strongly approved Obama’s handling of the job as president, as compared with 53 percent of Americans on average.
Among Floridian Jews, the poll showed that 68 percent voted for Clinton (slightly less than the national average) and 28 percent for Trump. The president-elect won 49.1 percent of the overall vote in this swing state, which has a relatively large Jewish population.