Poll: American Jews Still Liberal, Democrats

Poll of 800 Jewish voters reveals that most Jews still approve of Obama and his stance on Israel - despite Republican sweep in Congress.

Tova Dvorin ,

Midterm elections
Midterm elections

American Jewish voters are still largely Democrats, according to a poll by far-left lobbying group J-Street - despite the Democratic party's tendency to support pro-Palestinian views. 

The survey, of 800 Jewish voters who cast a ballot in Tuesday's midterm congressional elections, showed that voters favored Democrats over Republicans by a landslide 69%-28% margin.

Likewise, they have higher opinions of US President Barack Obama than most of the public, with 57% of respondents approving of Obama's presidency thus far, versus the 42% national average. However, the approval rating is still higher for Binyamin Netanyahu - who gained a 61/100 score on a definitive ranking of political personalities, vs. 49/100 for Obama. 

Predictably, 59% of respondents defined themselves as "Democrats," with an additional 9% saying they "lean" Democratic. Just 15% defined themselves as "Republican" and a meager 6% "leaned Republican." 

The numbers were slightly different between "conservative" voters and "liberal" voters, at 19% and 36%, respectively. 36% defined themselves as "moderate" and 9% as "progressive." 

Regarding Israel-related issues themselves, the results largely reflected leftist politics in the US, with high percentages of respondents against Israeli sovereignty in Judea-Samaria, supporting a Palestinian state, and supporting greater US involvement in peace talks. 

Respondents had relatively moderate views of Israel's presence in Judea-Samaria, however. While the US State Department, under the Obama administration has explicitly deemed "settlement activity" behind 1949 Armistice Lines as "illegitimate," only 28% of those polled said Israel should withdraw from the region, while the majority - 52% - said that it should only withdraw outside "core settlement blocs."

Surprisingly, despite the left-leaning audience, 20% still said that Israel should continue to build in Judea-Samaria.

Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, however, garnered overwhelming support, with 80% saying they approved of the military campaign.

Most respondents supported the State Department's active meddling in peace talks, with 85% affirming that they support an "active" American role in Israeli-Palestinian relations. 73% said they supported US pressure "on both sides" of the conflict. Tempering that, just 47% would approve of the US pressuring Israel to make concessions for peace. 80% total supported a "two-state solution." 

The top two issues, according to poll respondents, important to American Jews in casting their votes Tuesday were the economy (44%) and health care (31%). Terrorism was cited as a top issue by 17%, ISIS by 13%, and Israel at only 8%. Additionally, only 10% of respondents listed education as one of their top two primary concerns. 

The poll shows that while Republicans invariably predict a seismic shift in Jewish voting patterns, it usually fails to materialize:

Interestingly, the voting percentages of Jews in Tuesday’s midterm elections resemble closely those of the 2012 presidential election, despite Republican predictions of a shift in Jewish voting patters.

If Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate for president in 2016, the poll suggests no drastic changes and that Clinton would beat potential Republican candidates - former Florida governor Jeb Bush by 69% to 24% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul 71% to 22%.

Perhaps the most unexpected result of the poll is Jewish support for a nuclear agreement with Iran. 84% of American Jews said they would strongly, or somewhat, support a deal restricting uranium enrichment to civilian purposes and placing inspectors at Iran’s nuclear facilities in exchange for the removal or reduction of sanctions.