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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Big majorities of American Jews are disappointed with Donald Trump as president and are ready to vote Democratic in next year’s presidential election, according to a new national opinion survey.
Some 71 percent disapprove of Trump’s overall job performance, 70 percent view him unfavorably, 67 percent would vote for a generic Democrat over President Trump, and 65 percent would vote for Democratic candidate Joe Biden over President Trump, according to the results of the Greenberg Research survey conducted on behalf of the Jewish Electorate Institute.
The results demonstrate that domestic issues dominate the policy priorities of the Jewish community as they determine which candidate to support in the 2020 election, as opposed to issues related to Israel, which remains the lowest policy priority of Jewish voters. The results also demonstrate that the Jewish American electorate remains overwhelmingly opposed to President Trump, motivated largely by the Jewish community’s positions on domestic policy issues. These include immigration and health care, as well as concerns about rising anti-Semitism, gun violence, and rise of white nationalism, which respondents partially attribute to President Trump.
Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Jewish voters believe Jewish Americans are less secure than they were two years ago, 71 percent disapprove of the way President Trump has handled anti-Semitism, and nearly 60 percent believe that he bears at least some responsibility for the shootings at synagogues in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Poway, Calif. Two-thirds of the Jewish electorate remains firmly aligned with the Democratic Party, and there has been no change in the percentage of Jewish voters identifying as Republicans since JEI’s October 2018 poll; it remains at 25 percent.
- Healthcare remains a top policy priority for Jewish voters. As JEI found in its October 2018 poll, a broad majority within the Jewish community prioritize protecting Medicare and Social Security, as well as health care, above other policy issues when determining which candidate to support. These policy priorities are consistent with values long-held by leading Jewish organizations and the Jewish community overall.
- Israel is the lowest policy priority for Jewish voters. What is striking in this poll, as well as JEI’s 2018 poll, is that a candidate’s stance on Israel ranks at the bottom of a list of 16 policy priorities of Jewish voters. Overall, the Jewish community continues to identify as strongly pro-Israel and views the Democratic Party as pro-Israel, but Israel remains the lowest policy priority when determining which candidate to support. Similar to the October 2018 poll, while approximately 90 percent of Jewish voters identify as “pro-Israel,” more than half (53 percent) of those polled are critical of at least some of the current Israeli government’s policies.
- Anti-Semitism and violent threats to the Jewish community are a growing concern. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given recent attacks against synagogues and other hate crimes,this survey shows increased intensity and prioritization of anti-Semitism and other security threats targeting the Jewish community. Enacting gun safety laws, as well as combatting terrorism, anti-Semitism, and white nationalist threats have all grown in importance as political issues for Jewish voters compared to the October 2018 poll.
This survey was conducted online and took place May 6-12 among 1,000 Jewish voters nationally. Interviews were conducted online though a randomly selected panel. All respondents were screened for Jewish identity and current registration status, and key demographics in the final sample were weighted to reflect the Jewish electorate, pollsters said.
The margin of error is +/-3.2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The pollsters noted that the numbers have been rounded by computer and occasionally will add up to slightly above or slightly below 100 percent.