National surveys conducted by Gallup International show that American Jews have approved of Obama’s job performance throughout his presidency by an average of 14 percentage points more than the rest of the American electorate. This gap undercuts a frequently made, but factually erroneous, claim that Obama has a policy toward Israel that alienates Jewish voters, leading Gallup to conclude that its results “call into question attempts to link a decline in Obama’s approval among Jews to his statements or policies on [Israel] matters important to Jewish policymakers and lobbyists.”
While the antipathy toward Republicans is one central component of the Jewish vote, another key factor is the very positive feelings that Jews express toward Obama and Democratic policies. The president’s signature accomplishments of his first term — ending the war in Iraq, the Osama bin Laden operation and health care reform — directly address three issues that Jewish voters identified as determinants of their vote in 2008.
Our latest poll of American Jews simulated an election between Obama and Romney, and perhaps presents the clearest picture of where the Jewish vote may be headed. The initial vote shows Obama leading 63–24. When we allocated the undecided voters by party identification — a common practice among political pollsters when trying to map out the outcome of a race — the vote was 70–27, and far better than the dead heat reported in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll among American adults. Clearly, Obama has a lot of challenges on the road to re-election, but getting the Jewish vote is not one of them.