Jews are the most libertine religious group in America according to a new Gallup poll, and are more likely even than people with no religion to find same-sex relations and abortion to be morally acceptable.
As a group, American Jews have long leaned towards the Democratic Party, a tendency which has persisted despite rising average incomes. Milton Himmelfarb, a sociologist who specialized in American Jewry, once remarked that “Jews earn like Episcopalians, but vote like Puerto Ricans."
While Americans as a whole voted for Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008 by a margin of 53% to 46%, Jews split even harder for the Democratic candidate, with 77% supporting Obama compared to just 22% for his Republican challenger. In 2012 those numbers changed only slightly, with Jews breaking 69% to 30% in favor of Obama, compared to 51% to 47% among Americans as a whole.
A new Gallup poll released on Thursday shed some light on American Jewry’s lopsided support for the Democrat Party.
According to the survey, American Jews were more likely than any other religious group – including those with no religion – to find abortion and gay relations morally acceptable. With few exceptions, Jews reflected strongly libertine views that deviated from those of Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons.
A whopping 76% of American Jews said they felt abortion was “morally acceptable," compared to just 38% of Catholics, 33% of Protestants, and 18% of Mormons. Only respondents who selected “no religion” tracked closely with Jews, with 73% saying they found abortion acceptable.
While views on homosexual relationships have shifted in the United States, American Jews were again far more likely than others to find them morally acceptable, with 85% of Jews and 83% of those with no religion accepting of gay or lesbian relations. Among Mormons the figure was 28%, compared to 41% of Protestants, and 62% of Catholics.
Jews were also the most likely to accept the cloning of animals, with 50% of both Jews and those without religion saying it was morally acceptable. Only 28% of Protestants and 33% of both Mormons and Catholics found animal cloning acceptable.
Regarding physician-assisted suicide, 73% of Jews found the idea morally acceptable, compared to 77% of those without religion, 47% of Catholics, 43% of Protestants, and 30% of Mormons.
Only with regards to out-of-wedlock childbirths did Jews track closer to Christian groups than to those without religion. While 80% of those with no religion said having children outside of marriage was acceptable, only 68% of Jews, 59% of Catholics, 47% of Protestants, and 25% of Mormons agreed.
But Jews were among the most likely to say premarital sex was acceptable, with 83% of Jews and 88% of those without religion finding it morally acceptable, while only 29% of Mormons, 50% of Protestants, and 68% of Catholics responded similarly.