U.S. Jews Prefer Obama, Concerned More About Economy than Israel

A survey shows U.S. Jews want to know where the Presidential candidates stand on the economy and health care. On Israel – not so much.<br/>

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Gil Ronen,

Iran? Not so important
Iran? Not so important
Israel News Photo: (file photo)

Less than seven weeks before the U.S. presidential election, a survey of American Jews shows that they favor Democratic candidate Barack Obama by a near 2 to 1 margin. Asked whom they would vote for, 57 percent said Obama, 30 percent chose Republican candidate John McCain and the remaining 13 percent said they did not know.

Economy is the burning issue
In the survey, which was conducted for the American Jewish Committee, American Jews were asked "which one issue would you most like to hear the candidates for president discuss during the 2008 presidential campaign?"

Despite Israel's precarious predicament vis-à-vis Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, only 3 percent answered "Israel." 54 percent said "economy," 11 percent chose "health care," 6 percent chose "war in Iraq" and 5 percent opted for "energy." "Israel" was in fifth place, and received just one percentage
57 percent said they would vote for Obama, 30 percent chose McCain
point more than "immigration," "education," "taxes" and "social security," which received 2 percent each.

Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said they felt "very close" to Israel and another 38 percent said they were "fairly close" to the Jewish state. Thirty-one percent were "distant" or "fairly distant."

Nine hundred and fourteen self-identifying Jewish respondents were interviewed by telephone for the survey in the second and third weeks of September. Eight percent said they were Orthodox, 58 percent were either Reform or Conservative and 31 percent said they were "just Jewish." Forty-four percent identified themselves as liberal, 30 percent as moderate and 24 percent as conservative.

Fifty-six percent identified as Democrats and just 17 percent as Republicans.

Split on a strike against Iran
Forty-seven percent opposed a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from getting nuclear arms, and 42 percent were in favor of such a strike.

Fifty-six percent estimated that there will not come a time when Israel and its Arab neighbors will be able to settle their differences and live in peace, versus 38 percent who believe such a time will come.

When asked about anti-Semitism in the United States, 23 percent said it was a very serious problem, 63 percent said it was "somewhat of a problem" and 14 percent said it was not a problem at all.