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Posts Tagged ‘AJC’

Poll: Obama Winning Back Jews

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Jewish support for President Obama has improved significantly in the last year and a half, according to a new survey by the American Jewish Committee .

Release Monday, the poll shows 61 percent of Jews would vote for Obama, as opposed to 28 percent for Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

In September, an AJC survey showed President Obama scoring 50 percent of votes, with Romney earning 32 percent.

However, exit polls in 2008 showed Obama winning 78 percent of Jewish votes.

In the latest AJC poll, respondents listed the economy and health care as the most important campaign issues.

Respondents also supported Obama’s treatment of Israel, with 58 percent approving of his management of the US-Israel relationship, up a whopping 18 percent since last September.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also took a leap in approval for his handling of the US-Israel relationship – up to 70 percent from 54 percent in September.

An overwhelming majority – 89% – of AJC poll respondents expressed concern over Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, with 64 percent saying the US should conduct a military strike if all other alternatives fail to thwart Iranian nuclear progress.

The online poll took place March 14-27 and surveyed 1,074 respondents who identified themselves as Jewish. It had a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points.

Will Jewish Voters Break Their Democratic Habit In 2012?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Will the Jewish vote, normally overwhelmingly Democratic, be up for grabs in 2012? That question became a subject of intense debate when a Republican was elected recently to the House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District for the first time in 90 years.

The district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Queens and is about one-third Jewish, had been predictably Democratic and liberal. But in the blink of an eye it gave the non-Jewish Republican candidate an 8-point victory over the Democrat, an Orthodox Jew.

Public rabbinical endorsements in the district and extensive reportage in local Jewish papers indicated substantial Jewish defections from the Democrats, particularly among Orthodox Jews, estimated to make up about a third of the Jewish electorate there. Since the election, Republican presidential candidates have been ramping up their pro-Israel rhetoric on the assumption that Jews are disappointed with the administration’s Middle East policy, while Democrats are organizing special outreach initiatives in the hope of holding on to their Jewish support.

The just-released AJC Survey of American Jewish Opinion indicates a definite falloff of Jewish support for Obama, although it is not clear that the Republican candidate for president next year can count on a significant shift in the Jewish vote.

Jewish support for Obama began at a far higher threshold than in the electorate at large: In 2008 he received an estimated 78 percent of the Jewish vote while polling 53 percent nationally. Three years later his national approval rating stands at 39 percent, a 14-point drop, while his approval rating among Jews – according to the AJC survey – is 45 percent, a decline of 23 percent but still 6 points higher than among Americans as a whole.

Among Orthodox Jews, who made up 9 percent of the sample, disapproval is much higher, 72 percent.

The AJC poll indicates that the president has retained the support of American Jews on certain issues. A solid 68 percent approve of the way he has handled national security, for example. Yet there has been a striking reversal in Jewish attitudes toward the president’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations. In the fall of 2009, toward the end of the administration’s first year, the AJC survey showed Jewish approval outstripping disapproval by 54 to 32 percent. Now, two years later, disapprovers outnumber approvers by 53 to 40 percent. Among the Orthodox Jews, 81 percent disapprove.

But Jewish disaffection from the president is not confined to Israel policy; Jews share the broader American unhappiness with recent economic trends. In March 2010, an AJC survey had Jewish approval of the president’s economic policies at 55 percent as compared to 45 percent in the general population. Today the Jewish approval rating on the economy is down to 37 percent, about the same as among Americans as a whole.

The latest AJC survey indicates some falloff in Jewish identification with the Democratic Party, which stood at 53 percent in 2009 and is now at 45 percent. However, this has not translated into gains for the Republicans, which stands steady at 16 percent. Rather, the number of Jewish political independents rose in that time period from 30 percent to 38 percent. In the Orthodox sample, Republicans now outnumber Democrats by 35 to 21 percent, with 41 percent identifying as independents.

Looking forward to the 2012 election, the AJC survey matched up Obama with a number of potential Republican candidates and asked respondents to indicate for whom they would vote. Mitt Romney did best in the hypothetical contest, garnering 32 percent to Obama’s 51; Rick Perry garnered 26 percent to Obama’s 54; and Michele Bachmann received 21 percent against 59 percent for Obama.

Since 1928, Democratic candidates for president almost always have received at least 60 percent of the Jewish vote, with many doing far better. Only Jimmy Carter in his 1980 reelection bid did worse, winning a plurality of 45 percent in a three-candidate race.

Do Obama’s numbers in the AJC matchups, all in the 51-59 percent range, portend trouble for him? Not necessarily. Approximately 20 percent of the respondents said they were undecided or unsure about whether to vote for Obama or for any of the named Republicans.

To be sure, there is still a year to go before the next presidential election. Much could happen to change the electoral calculus both in the Jewish community and outside it, whether on the domestic economic front, in the Middle East or elsewhere. Also, other candidates could conceivably enter the race.

Clearly the president faces challenges in attracting Jewish voters, especially the Orthodox. Some are identical to those confronting him with regard to all voters, others specific to the Jewish community. It is far too early to tell if 2012 will be the year that Republicans finally fulfill their long-held aspiration to draw a large chunk of the Jewish vote or if, despite serious misgivings, the tradition of overwhelming Jewish allegiance to the Democrats continues.

(JTA)

Lawrence Grossman is director of publications for the American Jewish Committee.

Jews Still Unsure About Obama: McCain Support Near 80% Among Orthodox

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama has hit a wall of Jewish indecision. An American Jewish Committee survey published last week shows the Democratic presidential nominee still hovering around 60 percent among Jewish voters. His big problem: the undecideds.


  The U.S. senator from Illinois scored 57 percent, compared to 30 percent of respondents who said they would vote for his Republican rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain. That’s consistent with two other major polls taken since May.


  If Obama’s figure holds, he would finish about 15 points behind the 75 percent of the Jewish vote that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) won in 2004, according to exit polls.


  “He seems to have reached a plateau,” said David Singer, the AJC’s research director. He noted that Jews among the party faithful are strongly supportive of their respective candidates, with 81 percent of Jewish Democrats backing Obama and 84 percent of Jewish Republicans backing McCain.


  “In the past, Jewish independents usually in their voting behavior tended to go Democratic” by this point in the campaign, Singer said. “It’s this group that seems to be hesitating.” The AJC survey found an even split among Jewish independents for McCain and Obama – with 20 percent still undecided.


  Part of the explanation is McCain’s popularity among Jews relative to President Bush, who garnered only 24 percent of the Jewish vote in 2004 even after four years of what was widely seen as consistently strong support for Israel. McCain’s appeal combines similar support for Israel with a reputation as a moderate – one that Jewish Democrats say is no longer deserved after McCain picked a staunch religious conservative, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as his running mate.


  A similar poll conducted by the AJC four years ago, in September 2004, showed Kerry at 69 percent and Bush at 24 percent. Kerry ultimately persuaded the undecideds to vote for him six weeks later.


  Whether Obama can do the same in the time remaining before the election with twice as many undecideds up for grabs this time around is a worrying question for Democrats. They say that a Republican campaign depicting Obama as overly sympathetic to Palestinians and as insufficiently confrontational with Iran, as well as an Internet-based campaign falsely depicting Obama as a secret Muslim, has hurt support for the Democrat among Jews.


  Matt Brooks, who directs the Republican Jewish Coalition, said his ads in Jewish newspapers in swing states where Jews may make a difference – particularly Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio – have raised substantive questions about Obama. Brooks cited Obama’s emphasis on the need for more diplomacy in dealing with Iran and his bungled efforts to explain his views on Jerusalem – and Brooks predicted bigger gains come Election Day.


  “This poll is just another data point in an ongoing series of polls that underscore the tremendous problems Barack Obama has among Jewish voters,” Brooks said.


  Throwing Obama’s difficulties into even sharper relief is that the poll shows Jews are consistently liberal. Jewish Democrats comprised 56 percent of the respondents in the AJC poll. A majority of all respondents – 47 percent to 42 percent, all Jews – opposed “the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons,” a striking number in a community where the organizational leadership almost unanimously supports the idea of keeping the military option against Iran on the table.


  Ira Forman, who directs the National Jewish Democratic Council, said he saw the “undecided” numbers as an obstacle, but not an insurmountable one. He noted that part of the poll, taken Sept. 8-21, was during McCain’s post-convention “bounce.”


  “The way national numbers move, Jewish numbers move,” he said, referring to McCain’s decline in recent polls.


  The AJC poll surveyed 914 Jews over the phone and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.


  Among its other findings:


  Obama earned the support of just 13 percent of Orthodox Jews, compared to 59 of Conservative Jews, 62 percent of Reform Jews and 61 percent of those who identified as “just Jewish.” McCain garnered 78 percent of Orthodox Jews, against 26 percent of Conservative Jews, 27 percent of Reform Jews, and 26 percent of those identifying as “just Jewish.”


  Obama is doing better among Jewish women (60 percent) than Jewish men (54 percent). For McCain, it’s the opposite: Thirty-five percent of Jewish men said that they support the GOP nominee, compared to 25 percent of Jewish women.


  A majority, 56 percent, disagreed with the statement that “there will come a time when Israel and its Arab neighbors will be able to settle their differences and live in peace.” Thirty-eight percent agreed.


  Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, predicted that Obama would make gains among Jewish voters by Election Day.


  He said it was unfair to compare Obama with recent Democratic candidates. Bill Clinton’s respective opponents in 1992 and 1996 – President George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole – did not have good relations with the Jewish community, Mellman said. Al Gore in 2000 tapped Joe Lieberman, making him the first Jew on a national ticket, and the current President Bush was perceived as polarizing among Jews when Kerry ran against him in 2004, he said.


  Referring to Obama’s consistent 60 percent range, Mellman said: “It’s still well in the range that other Democrats before Clinton have gotten.”

(JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jews-still-unsure-about-obama-mccain-support-near-80-among-orthodox/2008/10/01/

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