• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Poll: President Obama Still Retains Strong Support Among Jewish Americans

In May, President Obama was, somewhat ridiculously, accused of throwing Israel under the bus for making a reference to a negotiating position that had been a cornerstone of U.S. policy since at least the Clinton Administration. Since then, there’s been some speculation that Jewish American support for the President was in jeopardy because of his policies toward Israel. According to a new Gallup poll, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case:

Jewish Americans gave President Barack Obama a 60% job approval rating in June, down from 68% in May, but statistically unchanged from 64% in April. Thirty-two percent of U.S. Jews now disapprove of the job Obama is doing, similar to their 30% average thus far in 2011.

Gallup’s monthly trend in Jewish approval of Obama continues to roughly follow the path of all Americans’ approval of the president, more generally, as it has since Obama took office in January 2009. The 14-percentage-point difference in the two groups’ approval ratings in June — 60% among U.S. Jews vs. 46% among all U.S. adults — is identical to the average gap seen over the past two and a half years. However, the monthly graph is somewhat variable due to the lower monthly sample saize of Jewish respondents (around 350).

More importantly for Obama, though, there doesn’t seem to have been any statistically significant change in Jewish support for the President because of the May speech that cause so much controvery:

This isn’t entirely a surprise, of course. Just like any other demographic group, Jewish Americans are not a single-issue voting group. Israel and American policy in the Middle East is, no doubt, an important issue for them, but it is not the only issue, any more than abortion is the only issue that Catholic Americans base their voting decisions on. As Ed Morrissey noted last week, for the most part the Democratic Party is a home for Jewish Americans for reasons that have little to do with Israel:

Jewish voters are one of the bedrock demographics for the Democratic Party, almost as loyal as black voters.  In 2008, Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote despite the questions raised by his association with Hamas-supporting Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United, as well as a campaign adviser’s connections to Hamas. They still supported him despite having Samantha Power on his campaign team and in his administration (as a Special Adviser to the President for Multilateral Affairs, no less), a woman who once proposed that Western nations occupy Israel to disarm the IDF in order to impose peace in the region.

(…)

The Jewish vote won’t suddenly swing to the GOP, for reasons that have nothing to do with Obama.  Jewish voters tend to be more progressive; the Democratic Party is a more natural home for them.  While there may be some truth in the notion that African-Americans are naturally more conservative and could be won over with a more concerted effort by Republicans to address their issues through debate (as Jack Kemp tried), that’s almost certainly not true of Jewish voters as a bloc.  The GOP position on Israel might be a better fit, but on domestic politics, they’ll keep voting Democratic.

Indeed, and the idea that the GOP is going to suddenly be able to break apart the Democratic coalition over Israel is simply to absurd to be believed.

 

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jay Tea says:

    There has to be room for an “unexpectedly” somewhere in that title…

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Only if you’ve never met a Jewish American — or at least one of the vast majority of us who aren’t neo-con Hawks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. mantis says:

    Conservatives think that all US Jews are exactly like Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Joe Lieberman, and political reporters are stupid enough to believe those idiots when they claim that Obama “threw Israel under the bus” by changing nothing about US policy towards the country.

    The reason they are wrong isn’t because US Jews aren’t a single-issue bloc. The reason they are wrong is because the crap about Obama “abandoning Israel” is just another big lie, and most Jews recognize that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. Hey Norm says:

    Cmon….Obamas support overall is pretty much a straight line…mid forties +/-…and on par with Reagan and Clinton. To think that any traditionally democratic voting block is going to abandon the President is a pipe-dream. What do the so-called republicans offer? Tax cuts for the rich and uterus control? Not much of a platform.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: WR, I’ve known quite a few Jews. Attended several Seders, can say L’Shanah Tovah reasonably well, nearly married a Jewish woman. Seriously considered converting at more than one point.

    But, perhaps, I shouldn’t have riffed on the “unexpectedly” theme. “Inexplicably” would have been more accurate.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. mantis says:

    @WR:

    Only if you’ve never met a Jewish American — or at least one of the vast majority of us who aren’t neo-con Hawks.

    You’ll have to excuse Jay. He’s from New Hampshire, and the six Jews who live in that state don’t live in his town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s not inexplicable. It’s a function purely of tribal affiliations. To a lesser extent it’s a function of ingrained guilt complexes and self-loathing.

    It’s similar on several fronts to the blind support of Obama among the black demographic.

    Simply put, a large majority of Jews will support a Democrat president regardless of what that Democrat says or does. The fact that Obama is black merely is the icing on the cake. Hell, Obama could livery himself in an SS uniform and chant “death to Israel” at the top of his lungs and a large majority of Jews still would support him. Seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Not to say I told you so, but I did in one of the threads where right-wingers were hysterical about Israel being “sold out.”

    The Likud Lobby, er, AIPAC, doesn’t have the ability to shift Jewish votes. They can buy and sell pols, and they apparently impress the right-wing wishing-for-Armageddon crowd, but Jews are too smart for this. We won’t vote for a party that practices dog whistle racism or beats up on gays and immigrants. No sale.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Because Jews are f**king idiots?

    We vote on issues, genius. And we don’t like bigots. Or parties that harbor bigots. Or evangelicals who think we’re a convenient mechanism for bringing on the end of the world.

    For that matter we don’t like people dumb enough to use a rabid anti-semite as his screen name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  10. Kylopod says:

    We need to get something out of the way: Jews are not a swing bloc. Period. No Republican presidential nominee since Harding (!!!) has won the Jewish vote. The closest a Republican has come to winning it in modern times is Reagan in 1980, but that had far more to do with the presence of a third-party candidate with disproportionate Jewish support (John Anderson) than with Reagan’s popularity among Jews. (Carter got 45%, Reagan 39%, and Anderson 14%.) Since the Clinton era, the Jewish support for whoever the Dems nominate has been sky-high, between 74% (Kerry in 2004) and 80% (Clinton in 1992). But every few years you hear conservatives crowing about a mass Jewish exodus to the GOP being right around the corner. It never comes to pass. Here is one amusing example of this viewpoint from 2003. This was right before the 2004 election, where Kerry did fine among Jews, and the 2006 election, where Democrats got 87% of the Jewish vote, the highest ever since the birth of exit polls. As for 2008, Greg Sargent reminds us:

    “Back in 2008 — after Obama said that “nobody’s suffering more than the Palestinian people,” and after Obama suggested he’d be open to unconditional talks with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel — there were reams of stories about how McCain would be able to make successful inroads with this core Democratic constituency. In the end, according to exit polls, Obama won around 78 percent of the Jewish vote.”

    So why don’t we retire this speculation about a Jewish exodus to the GOP? It ain’t gonna happen, and Republicans do themselves no favors in pretending it will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. An Interested Party says:

    For the arguments of Tsar Nicholas to work, blacks, Jews, and other minorities have to be characterized in a very unflattering light…hmm…not exactly a successful way to lure Democratic constituencies to the GOP/conservative side of the aisle…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  12. Socrates says:

    “In May, President Obama was, somewhat ridiculously, accused of throwing Israel under the bus”

    What’s with the “somewhat”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Hey Norm says:

    Tsar’s post at 12:31 is a lesson in projection.
    But he/she is correct. I don’t care if Obama stopped the biggest economic slide since the depression, made significant progress in gay rights, passed major health care reform, and killed OBL…I’m voting for him anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Jay Tea says:

    @mantis: Take your bigotry and cram it. New Hampshire has a thriving Jewish community, including a sizable Jewish “colony” in Bethlehem and several Chabad Lubavitches around the state. Rough estimates set our Jewish population as bout 13,000 (1% of 1.3 million), and until recently one of our House reps were Jewish. Paul Hodes was swept in with the Democrats in 2006, re-elected in 2008, and tossed out in 2010 when the tide turned back.

    I’d wager that I’ve been to more Seders and Jewish religious celebrations than you, mantis (unless you’re Jewish), and know a hell of a lot more about Jewish culture than you. Like I said, I almost married a Jewish woman, and considered converting.

    I also “know” some Jews who are staunchly anti-Obama, and quite frankly puzzled by their fellow Jews’ support for him. Laurence Simon and Meryl Yourish, two of my oldest blog-buddies, come to mind.

    Oh, well. As they say, get two Jews together and you’ll get three opinions.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. mantis says:

    Take your bigotry and cram it.

    What bigotry? The entire New Hampshire Jewish community is about a tenth of that in my city alone. Do you deny this? Against whom am I expressing bigotry?

    I’d wager that I’ve been to more Seders and Jewish religious celebrations than you, mantis (unless you’re Jewish)

    Oops! You’d lose. Nice try though. I was raised Catholic, but my grandmother was Jewish, and I probably knew more about Judaism by age five than you do now.

    I also “know” some Jews who are staunchly anti-Obama, and quite frankly puzzled by their fellow Jews’ support for him. Laurence Simon and Meryl Yourish, two of my oldest blog-buddies, come to mind.

    Wow. You’ve emailed a couple of Likudnik bloggers! How cosmopolitan of you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  16. Jay Tea says:

    @Kylopod: So, the Republican party should just follow the advice of James Baker and “screw the Jews, they never vote for us anyway?”

    I thought that was despicable then, and am even more convinced of that now.

    I’m very Jew-friendly. Most conservatives I know are — some are even Jewish. And we’d like to see the Jews wake up and see they’d be a better fit, and more than welcome, on the right.

    There’s a reason why conservative Jews are treated the way they are. It’s related to why there’s such venom against other conservatives like Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Nikki Haley are treated they way they are: they are part of the “natural” Democratic constituency, and have strayed off the plantation. Thus, they must be punished and made an example of to remind the rest of the Jews, women, blacks, and other minorities that they are the property of the Democratic Party, and they better not even think of going elsewhere.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  17. anjin-san says:

    It’s a high information demographic, that Obama is doing well is hardly a surprise.j

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Jay Tea says:

    @mantis: If that’s true, fair enough. But you’re talking total numbers, not percentages. Your little BS about “six Jews in New Hampshire” was a load of crap which you should have known was crap when you said it. Try six times six times six times six times 10, approximately. (6^4 equals 1,296; add in a zero, and it comes damned close to 13,000.)

    Find a new target for your bigotry, and lay off my state.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  19. mantis says:

    Your little BS about “six Jews in New Hampshire” was a load of crap which you should have known was crap when you said it.

    Yes, I was exaggerating for effect. We all know you would never think of doing that. I did not think anyone would take that number seriously (if it were Montana, then maybe :). You have a unique capacity for consciously ignoring the obvious though, so what did I expect?

    Find a new target for your bigotry, and lay off my state.

    Once again, against whom am I expressing bigotry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. mantis says:

    And we’d like to see the Jews wake up

    Once again, the old conservative tact of deciding that since minority groups tend to support the Democratic Party, they are stupid and/or have been duped. When will these idiot Jews wake up and see what’s good for them? It’s the same tired, bigoted crap that keeps them saying that the blacks are too stupid to know Democrats are “keeping them on the plantation.”

    I’m very Jew-friendly.

    Except the majority of Jews, who are just brain-washed idiots who need to wake up, right Jay?

    The fact that Jay calls me a bigot for correctly pointing out how homogenous the population of his state is is just a delicious irony. What a putz.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  21. Kylopod says:

    @Jay Tea: What Baker said was despicable, but it was brutally accurate. Jews don’t vote Republican and aren’t about to; therefore, their vote isn’t an important consideration for a GOP electoral strategy. That doesn’t mean Republicans should be anti-Semitic about it and collectively curse the Jews, as Baker did, but it does mean they shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking they’re on the verge of making serious inroads into the Jewish community, particularly if they’re pushing the same policies as before.

    I’m convinced that a lot of the Israel talk on the right is done far more for the sake of Christian evangelicals, who comprise a far greater chunk of the populace than Jews. I find repeatedly that a lot of pro-Israel evangelicals have a highly stereotyped view of Jews, and their support for Israel (which usually entails the most hawkish, ultraright approach to the conflict) often reveals itself to have ulterior motives. Take Mike Huckabee. Just a few months ago he said the following:

    “If you’ve been around a lot of Jewish people, particularly from New York, they tend to be very opinionated, very animated…. I felt like I was sitting between Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen–it was really interesting; it was surreal.”

    Most of us Jews would consider that remark both patronizing and clueless.

    Then, after Jewish groups criticized Huck for comparing the debt ceiling to the Holocaust, he made the following ominous remark:

    “Israel and the Jewish people need to make friends, not insult the ones they have.”

    Notice how he lumps “Israel and the Jewish people” together as one amorphous entity and almost seems to imply that his support for them is conditional on their not complaining too much.

    Some Christian conservatives view their support for Israel as a bargaining chip to placate Jews, or even a cover against charges of anti-Semitism. (“I can’t be anti-Semitic because I support Israel” is a defense I have seen repeatedly over the years, the culprits ranging from Pat Robertson to Ann Coulter to the blogger Vox Day.) I’m not questioning the sincerity of all conservatives who claim to be pro-Jewish, nor do I have any interest in questioning the loyalty of conservative Jews. (In my experience, conservative Jews are far more likely to act that way toward liberal Jews than the other way around.) But whether they realize it or not, most conservatives are out of step with the views of most American Jews, even on Israel, and much of the conservative media tries to pretend otherwise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. mattb says:

    @Jay Tea: Here’s the problem with your position and the “inexplicably” or “unexpectedly:

    As they say, get two Jews together and you’ll get three opinions.

    The thing is, in general, put any two of any ethnic or racial group together and you tend to get three opinions.

    The mistake everyone makes — both republican and democrat — is assuming that just because groups vote in blocks, or certain commentators belong to certain groups — everyone of that group should act the same way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Kylopod says:

    One small correction: Huck compared the national debt–not the debt ceiling–to the Holocaust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. jukeboxgrad says:

    Rough estimates set our Jewish population as bout 13,000 (1% of 1.3 million)

    I think a pretty good source is here. They say NH is 0.8% Jewish (9,970 Jews). The US is 2.2% Jewish.

    There are a lot of Jews in the Northeast, but they tend to not be in NH, VT and ME. Here are some percentages, for comparison:

    8.4 NY
    5.5 NJ
    5.1 DC
    4.3 MA
    4.2 MD
    3.2 CT
    2.3 PA
    1.7 RI
    1.6 DE
    0.9 VT
    0.8 NH
    0.8 ME

    Aside from VT and ME, you would have to travel pretty far from NH to find a state with a lower concentration of Jews.

    There are about 25 states with a concentration of Jews lower than NH. These are mostly low-population states in the South and West. Only one large (greater than 10 million people) state has a lower concentration of Jews than NH. That’s Texas (0.6% Jewish).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. PJ says:

    I wonder what would happen with the support for Jews among conservatives if you would stop counting those who also believe in “the second coming of Christ who then would end up killing every Jew who wouldn’t convert” crap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. An Interested Party says:

    There’s a reason why conservative Jews are treated the way they are. It’s related to why there’s such venom against other conservatives like Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Nikki Haley are treated they way they are: they are part of the “natural” Democratic constituency, and have strayed off the plantation. Thus, they must be punished and made an example of to remind the rest of the Jews, women, blacks, and other minorities that they are the property of the Democratic Party, and they better not even think of going elsewhere.

    Oh please, spare us…perhaps the real reason conservative Jews are treated the way they are is that Likudnik policies are disastrous and will eventually do more harm to Israel than good…as for your other examples…Herman Cain is running around spouting that he is more of a black man than the President and talking some nonsense about four-page bills…no wonder he isn’t taken seriously by most people…Sarah Palin has already shown what a lovely celebrity reality show star she is…Bobby Jindal made a disastrous State of the Union response that shows he’s not ready for prime time…and Nikki Haley…where is the evidence that she is being treated as if she should be the property of the Democratic Party…

    I wonder what would happen with the support for Jews among conservatives if you would stop counting those who also believe in “the second coming of Christ who then would end up killing every Jew who wouldn’t convert” crap.

    Perhaps many Jews are already aware of this and think of evangelicals as their useful idiots…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Cynic in NY says:

    You know whats funny on how conservatives squawk to holy hell over sovereignty but have no problem stealing from people in order to give said stolen monies Israel and other nations. Of course if you subscribe to liberal and conservative speak they call it “foreign aid” The massive negative reaction Rand Paul got when he called for an end of all foreign aid including to Israel was just more proof on how majority of the politicos in this country are bald face hypocrites.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. anjin-san says:

    Looks like Jay’s core position is that Jews, blacks & hispanics are simply too stupid to know who their friends are. Can’t imagine why the GOP does not get votes from those folks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  29. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    MR,

    Jewish voters have always been very comfortable with bigots as long as the bigots are either black, Hispanics, or hate middle class whites. Jews have never had any problem with the bigotry of the Congressional Black Caucus. Jews have no problem with court ruling that say that the government can discriminate as long as the government is discriminating against whites (See the recent federal appeals court ruling in Michigan)

    Jews are the second more liberal group in the U.S. behind blacks and will unifomly suppose bad government policies as long as they do not apply to Jewish voters (See forced busing, affirmative action, desperate impact).

    The idea that jews would stop supporting the Democrats is laughable and any Republican who believes that conseravtives can ever appeal to Jews is a fool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  30. mantis says:

    Sounds like sd doesn’t like the Jews too much. Color me shocked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Kylopod says:

    Posts like this always seem to draw in the Stormfront types. I just didn’t know it would be one of the regulars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer: If you’re an example of a Republican — and sadly, you are — then you and I are in agreement: Jews won’t support any party that gives a home to people like you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  33. george says:

    Oddly enough, most Jews I’ve known are very vocal about making up their own minds as individuals rather than worrying about voting as a block. Speaking of ‘Jews’ as a unit which votes together sounds odd.

    It really doesn’t strike me as hard to believe that some people know mainly Republican voting Jews (or any other group), other people know mainly Democrat voting Jews (or any group); its not like most of our daily lives involve political discussions with a cross section of society. In fact, most workplaces and social groups (sports teams, neighbors etc) avoid discussing politics – and close to half the population doesn’t care enough about politics to even bother voting.

    Polls like the one above are probably much more accurate than anyone’s personal experiences, but even so they’re not definitive – don’t bet your life savings that the next Jew you meet is a Democrat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Kylopod says:

    @george: I totally agree with you that Jews don’t vote as a block, and that nobody should assume every Jew they meet votes the same way or for the same reasons. However, you should be directing those comments not at the people who cite polls like this, but at Republicans who engage in fantasies about a mass Jewish exodus to the GOP based on pseudo-controversies such as Obama’s utterly unremarkable “’67 borders” line. They’re the ones making it sound like all Jews think alike; they’re the ones reducing all the varied reasons individual Jews vote to simplistic motives. The point of citing these polls isn’t to imply that Jews aren’t free to vote the way they please, but to provide a reality check to people who imagine away this evidence by making assumptions about the way Jews think.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. george says:

    However, you should be directing those comments not at the people who cite polls like this, but at Republicans who engage in fantasies about a mass Jewish exodus to the GOP based on pseudo-controversies such as Obama’s utterly unremarkable “’67 borders” line.

    No argument here, its stupid no matter who says it, and the latest round certainly was started by Republicans promising (or probably hoping) for a mass exodus of Jewish votes to them.

    I just found it kind of interesting that people were making generalizations (each way) about a group that numbers in the millions based on personal experiences – especially since I suspect that most people don’t know the political views of most individuals (of any group) they encounter. Websites like this, where everyone expresses their political opinion, isn’t typical for most people’s real life encounters, at least according to polls I’ve seen where people state they rarely discuss politics with co-workers, casual acquaintances, or even most friends.

    For my part (and no, I’m not willing to generalize to the whole population based on this), politics almost never comes up, and I have no idea what party 99% of my co-workers vote for, or even their views on most issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. “In May, President Obama was, somewhat ridiculously, accused of throwing Israel under the bus for making a reference to a negotiating position that had been a cornerstone of U.S. policy since at least the Clinton Administration.”

    What is ridiculous is writing before you know the facts about Obama’s demands on Israel. He wants a “contiguous Palestinian state” that would mean splitting Israel into two separate parts. The US position has NEVER been starting from the 1967 lines, aka the 1949 ARMISTICE LINES- y’know, where the UN waited until Israel started winning the war of extermination launched against it by nine Arab states before stepping in to call a halt. In case you have been under a rock for as long as you have been on this planet, the UN has never supported the sovereign state of Israel after creating it, and has leveld half of its Security Council Resolutions against it, in addition to making Israel a permanent agenda item on its Human Rights Council (which has included Iran, Syria, Libya, Cuba, and north Korea).

    NOW, the Fakestinians, aka the “Palestinians” who did not exist in 1949 (being an invention of the PLO in 1964), along with every Arab state wanting to destroy Israel HAS demanded that Israel retreat back to 1949, which would reward naked aggression and genocide handsomely.

    Obama’s 1967 lines with land swaps” meant carving up Israel’s land and handing it to the PLO and Hamas for doing jack sh*t in the “advancement of peace.” Just the opposite as they do not recognize the Jewish state and never will.

    There is already a two state solution: Jordan, carved out of the Jewish Mandated Homeland, is 75% “Palestinian Arab” and is the de facto state for them. Israel includes Judea and Samaria, but also Gaza, Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula – now that Egypt is going to reneg on its peace agreement, along with Jordan.

    Obama wants to throw Jews into the sea just as Hamas and the PLO want, and if you belive otherwise, then you have no business writing anything about Israel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  37. Dr. Ron Polland says: