Election News Politics

Poll: Jewish voters support Clinton over Trump by 3-1 ratio

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters after holding a "National Security Working Session" with national security advisers in New York on Sept. 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Brian Snyder *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-JEWISH-VOTE, originally transmitted on Sept. 14, 2016.

(RNS) The first national survey of Jewish voters this election season shows solid support for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in keeping with their historic allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Asked whom they would vote for if the election were held today, 61 percent of Jewish adults said Clinton and 19 percent picked GOP nominee Trump in the American Jewish Committee survey.

“Clinton’s 42-point lead matches the historical average of Democratic margins among Jewish voters over the past 40 years and demonstrates that American Jews remain a base constituency for the Democratic Party,” said Jim Gerstein, a Democratic pollster and campaign consultant.

"If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you most likely vote?" Graphic courtesy of AJC`

“If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you most likely vote?” Graphic courtesy of AJC

But even some Democrats have noted that Jewish support for Clinton is not as great as President Obama’s in the September 2012 AJC poll, where he garnered 65 percent of the Jewish vote compared with 24 percent for Republican Mitt Romney.

Still, said Kenneth D. Wald, a University of Florida political science professor who studies the Jewish vote, the former secretary of state has nothing to worry about among Jews.

“If you look at most recent presidential elections, you find that Jews typically favor Democrats by a 2-1 margin. That Secretary Clinton has a 3-1 ratio over Trump suggests that she’s running extremely well among Jews,” he said.

Wald continued: “The Iran issue, her one liability on Jewish concerns in some eyes, probably engages the Orthodox and hawks on Israel who have been disproportionately Republican for decades. So I would read these results as very good news for the Democrats.”

Clinton supported the Iran nuclear deal to lift sanctions on Iran, whose leaders have denied the Holocaust, supported terrorist groups hostile to Israel and pledged to destroy it. But the American Jewish community is divided on the deal, with some American Jews arguing that it slows Iran’s nuclear program and makes Israel safer.

Wald added that Trump has offended Jews, many of whom see the U.S. as a sanctuary for immigrants, as it was for their forebears in the past two centuries.

“His flirtation with the alt-right and his demonizing of Muslims, Mexicans and others with populist appeals raises Jewish hackles,” Wald said. “I expect him to do especially badly among Jews this year.”

The AJC poll, of 1,002 Jewish adults 18 and older, also found that Israel is not the top issue for American Jews, a finding consistent with past surveys of Jewish voters.

Respondents to the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, named the economy and jobs as their top concern (51 percent choose it first or second), followed by terrorism and national security (with 31 percent rating it first or second.)

Anti-Semitism also emerged as a significant concern for American Jews in the poll: 23 percent called it a “a very serious problem” and 34 percent called it “somewhat of a problem.”

The AJC, a New York based nonprofit, also found in its survey that:

  • 51 percent of American Jews identify as Democrats, 18 percent as Republicans and 26 percent as independents.
  • Jews, like other Americans, have very little confidence in Congress, with 2 percent saying they have a “great deal of confidence,” 43 percent “very little” and 17 percent “none.”
  • On the state of U.S.-Israel relations, 16 percent consider it “very good,” 57 percent say “fairly good,” 17 percent consider it “fairly poor” and 8 percent call it “very poor.”

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)

20 Comments

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  • A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Obama’s “Iran Nuclear Deal”,
    which is a vote for Iran to launch a nuclear-tipped long-range Qadr missile at Israel,
    whenever Iran wants to have some fun.

    Jewish voters should therefore ask themselves if they’re comfortable with nuking Israel.

    If your answer is “No, that’s outside my comfort zone”, then ***do NOT vote for Hillary*** !!

  • There’s nothing particularly surprising in these numbers, but I think the most worrisome point is not on the domestic front, but as other’s have pointed out, on the foreign policy front. Whatever deal might be made by any administration with Iran on the question of nukes, regardless of other factors, I don’t think Iran can be trusted with respect to this issue; and that is surely problematic for Israel whichever candidate is victorious.

  • The thing about the Iran nuke issue was that it was a giant bluff.

    Iran was making big noise about its uranium enrichment capacity in a way to deliberately provoke a panic. No nation which has ever successfully produced nuclear weapons has or ever would do something so foolish. Uranium enrichment is slow, expensive and easy to stop. But nuclear blackmail and gamesmanship is a helluva lot cheaper than actually producing the weapons. Especially given their efforts were kiboshed by the constant assasination of their nuclear scientists and severe damage by weaponized cyberattack (The Stuxnet virus).

    Plus Iran’s military infrastructure is falling apart on the macro level. Whereas Iran would be lucky to produce a missile to reach Tel Aviv that won’t fall apart over Iraq/Syria/Jordan, Israel has ballistic missile and bomber capacity to turn Iran into a smoking glowing crater. The whole “but they are crazy Muslims and don’t care” argument ignores about 35+ years of how the mullahs have acted so far.

    Iran wanted a controversy in order to prop up the regime. What better way to shore up support with the majority of the population, which despises it, than an outside enemy.

    Obama essentially called their bluff with the nuclear deal and bought a lot of overprice uranium and substandard (even by Manhattan Project standards) centrifuges.

  • I knew you’d pipe up, Floyd. Thank you for your concern but we can make our own decisions. The American Jewish community is pretty divided on the deal, but the majority of us realize that Hillary is pro-Israel for the most part and views its security as essential. The majority of us also realize that Trump is far more dangerous, to American Jews, to American democracy, and to the world. You may not like it but the numbers in the article back it up.
    The more complicated question is about Florida’s Jewish voters, who were a big question mark in 2008. On the one hand, Hillary isn’t as much of an unknown as Obama was then. She was New York’s senator and knows the Jewish community personally. On the other hand, anecdotally (Facebook) there seems to be a bigger concentration of hawkish, Israel-can-do-no-wrong types in Florida than in New York. Supposedly a rabbi in South Florida had his contract non-renewed after participating in a protest against Trump at the AIPAC convention (it seems undisputed it was at least a factor). Also, we can assume Florida’s Jewish voters are older than the Jewish electorate as a whole, and white older voters are skewing for Trump so far.

  • So–Jews, Black people, Latino people, women, gay people, Muslims and well-educated white people lean away from Trump, if not heavily toward Hillary. And every time you turn around, Trump says or does something that makes him look ridiculous to all but the most extremist so-called white christians. And don’t even start on how he had routinely stiffed his contractors and bankrupted every business deal he’s ever embarked upon.

    There just aren’t that many trailer parks, meth-heads and rednecks in America–so why do I keep hearing that this race is close?

    The media are still doing a hatchet job on Hillary, but, for the life of me, I can’t understand why.

  • You introduce some information of which I am unaware. I admit that the whole Iranian issue has not drawn my greatest interest. I despair of Middle East politics. And yet if Iran had the capabilities you assert they do not, don’t you consider it a possibility they would avail themselves of it? That said, I still have the greatest concern for the nation of Israel, because, and I do not think you would dispute this, they are virtually surrounded by a host of adversaries who wish them no good at all. As to the foolishness of nations which have attained nuclear status, my present money is on North Korea. There must be something in the culture and history of North Korea that compels the people and military to honor the Kim family and allow them to rule from generation to generation almost as if they were a Royal family. I have been surprised that the generals did not rise up and displace the father of the present ruler, and even more so the son.

  • Iran may be a theocracy, but the regime is not run by crazies. Their system is a lot like Soviet Communism. Rule by committee and cliques. Even supreme leaders are subject to approval from various interests.

    Pragmatically, provoking Israel and engaging in proxy battles is far more beneficial to them than real war.

    Iran has considered Saudi Arabia to be the real enemy since 1979. The Saudi funding of the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980 hammered that point home. Much of the conflict right now in the middle East (Syrian Civil War, ISIS, Yemen Civil War) is a function of the cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. As much as the Iranians talk of death to America and death to Israel, neither of those countries pose an existential threat to Iran.

    Israel can defend itself. They were handling Iran’s nuclear ambition long before it was on the radar here. (Through espionage, assassination and the first documented use of a computer virus as a combat weapon)

    My worry is less on North Korea attaining nuclear weapons as it is that the slapdash and sloppy methods of using nuclear energy there. I worry it will cause an East Asian Chernobyl with Seoul, Beijing and Western Japan in its footprint.

  • Washington Post carried an article about Trump campaign targeting Jewish American expatriates living in Israel but still voting in U.S. elections. Even a few thousand votes could tip Florida to Trump.

  • I saw that too. Again the assumption is that Americans living in Israel are farther to the right. That’s probably true, although I know many that are horrified by Trump (I fully admit that my circle of friends and family skews leftward).

  • because you are a leftist, antiamerican turd that’s why, not to mention an antiwhite Christian bigot, You obviously support corruption

  • Trailer Parks? you obviously look down on working people of modest means who can only afford trailer housing thanks to the elitist policies of leftists like you. You commies have a wakeup call coming

  • Neither jews nor muslims belong in our elections AT ALL.
    Both are divisive parasitic elements that have ruined our country.
    Israel can take them all and sort our their thousand year wars WITHOUT OUR MONEY AS WELL.
    Both the Syminton Amendment as well as the NNPT says that America shouldn’t give a penny to Israel.
    Time to get both these parasites out of our elections and government once and for all.

  • If Jews are so in favor of immigrants coming here, why don’t they set an example and have a few go to Israel?

  • How you like your democrats now? You supported Obama and Hillary would have been Obama + 10. Don’t worry Trump will fix it. Then you can stab him in the back in 4 yrs, good luck.

  • I was disappointed by the UN vote and the US’s abstention. But I am far more disturbed by Netanyahu’s Pax Israeliana, his abandonment of Israel’s 20+ year treaty-delineated policy of land for peace, and worst of all the prospect that Yitzhak Rabin z”l died for nothing.

  • Too many more dems like Obama, Kerry, Hillary, Sanders, etc. and you won’t have to worry about anything Israel because it won’t be on the map anymore. Good luck!!

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