Four Realities Affecting the Jewish Vote at U.S. Presidential Elections

Democrats maintain an edge, while Orthodox Jews move rightward.

Michael Bloomfield and Mark Mellman
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Michael Bloomfield and Mark Mellman

1. Impelled by our history and tradition, American Jews remain deeply devoted to the values of the Democratic Party and repelled by those of the Republicans. Like Democrats, Jews are committed to a pluralistic society that respects the rights of all; to creating opportunity while demanding responsibility; to separation of church and state; to quality education; to a womans right to choose, and to protecting the natural world God entrusted to us. That coincidence of commitments has made Jews one of the Democratic Partys most loyal constituencies: In the past four presidential elections, more than three-quarters of Jewish voters cast ballots for the Democratic nominee. Indeed, in the several most recent l presidential elections, only three groups have given Democrats more than 70% of their votes — blacks, Jews, and gay men and lesbians.

These poll numbers come form Gallup. The results from Jewish Americans are based on more than 350 interviews per month with individuals 18 and over.Credit: The Forward.

2. While Jews care deeply about these domestic issues, support for Israel also plays a critical role in the communitys voting behavior. No politician can expect to do well with Jewish voters if the community is not convinced of his or her bedrock support for Israel. Yes, a poll conducted for J Street concluded in part Israel is actually in the bottom tier of issues, and only 8% of Jews identify it as one of the top two most important issues in deciding their vote for president and congress. The same survey, however, found Jewish voters agreeing, by 58% to 34%, that a candidates position on Israel plays a big role in determining how I will vote for Congress and the president.

4. In an era of cultural politics, Orthodox Jews, like traditional devotees of most religions, are moving toward the GOP. While most every analysis of the Orthodox vote suffers from fundamental flaws, there is little doubt that this segment of the community has been less supportive of Democrats in recent years. Though many attribute this to increased tension over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this cant be the whole story. How else can one account for the fact that white, churchgoing Christians were also part of this shift toward Republican candidates? As the axis of American politics shifted to culture from class, those with traditional cultural stances, including Orthodox Jews, have moved toward the right.

The 2011 annual survey of American Jewish Opinion, conducted for AJC by Synovate and based on 800 interviews taken in September 2011.Credit: The Forward

Read more at the Forward.

Comments

ICYMI

בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel

ISRAEL-VOTE

Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism