U.S. Jews’ Support for Trump at Serious Low Despite anti-Democratic Campaign, Poll Finds

71 percent of Jewish respondents to Gallup poll say they disapprove of Trump, despite attempts to sway voters to back the GOP through support of groups like Jexodus

File photo: President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House, March 15, 2019.
Evan Vucci/AP

WASHINGTON — A new poll published Thursday shows that despite President Donald Trump's recent efforts to convince Jewish American voters to support the Republican Party, his standing among U.S. Jews continues to be miserable — and is, in fact, the lowest among several religious groups examined.

The Gallup poll, based on interviews with 978 Jewish American, shows that only 26 percent of them approve of Trump's conduct as president, while only 16 percent define themselves as Republicans. Meanwhile, 71 percent of the Jewish respondents said they disapprove of Trump, with slightly over half of them identifying as Democrats.

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The poll also surveyed Protestant, Catholic, Mormon and atheist or agnostic Americans, but Jewish respondents had the most negative view of Trump and were the least likely to identify as Republicans. In Congress, out of some 40 Jewish representatives, only two are Republicans.

The poll's results are in line with other public opinion polls conducted over the past year, as well as voting estimates in the 2018 midterm elections, which have shown that 78 percent of American Jews voted for Democratic candidates and only 17 percent supported Republicans.

Trump has been using Israel in his attacks on the rival party for months now. Over the past week, he tweeted twice about a new right-wing Jewish movement, Jexodus, working to convince Jewish American voters to support his party instead.

One tweet stated: “The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party. Total disrespect! Republicans are waiting with open arms. Remember Jerusalem (U.S. Embassy) and the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal!”

Experts are very skeptical of the idea that Jewish voters will leave the Democratic Party and move their support to the GOP because of his policy on Israel. Polling has consistently shown over the years that relatively few Jewish voters view Israel as a top-priority issue when they cast their ballots.

A poll conducted by Democratic pollster Mark Mellman last year showed that some of Trump’s Middle East policies are unpopular in the Jewish community, such as his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America responded to Trump's comments: “Jewish Americans overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party and we don’t see that changing.” The group also tweeted: "'Jexodus' is a Republican fantasy that will fail. Your policies and words are an assault on Jewish values."

Polling expert Nate Silver said the idea that Democrats will lose Jewish support in significant numbers is a "dumb take" that has been mentioned in the media for the past 25 years, despite the lack of any evidence to support it. Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro quoted a tweet from The Washington Examiner which raised the question — "Can Trump win the Jewish vote in 2020?" — and simply wrote: "No."