An American Jewish Committee survey released today has demonstrated yet again that Jews would overwhelmingly vote today to reelect President Barack Obama over the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney (by a 61/28 margin)—by essentially the same margin AJC reported Jews would support Barack Obama over John McCain at this same point in 2008 (57/30). This once again gives the lie to the myth that the Jewish vote is shifting rightward.
Further, the AJC survey shows that the margin of how much American Jews favor Barack Obama over Mitt Romney has dramatically increased from 2011 (50/32, an 18-point gap) to 2012 (61/28, a 33-point gap), using this very same poll. This illustrates that the more American Jews get to know Mitt Romney, the less they like him—and the more they see of Barack Obama’s leadership, the more they support him.
The AJC survey—like each survey before it—also asked about party identification. American Jews’ party identification in each American Jewish Committee survey going back through 2008 demonstrates that Jews remain strongly Democratic (52/19 today), with any fluctuations being within the margin of error. This yet again gives the lie to the myth of any shift in Jewish voter identification.
This month-old AJC poll tracks closely with other similar recent polls of Jewish opinion—including the PRRI Jewish Values Survey and others. All of these have shown a significant lead for President Obama over his likely Republican opponent, on par with where he was four years ago at this time—when he eventually won by a three-to-one margin among the Jewish vote.
Obama Strong Among Jewish Voters
Even stronger against Romney than he was against McCain in American Jewish Committee’s new survey. Some methodological questions muddy comparison.
Posted Apr 30, 2012 9:59am EDT
Obama would defeat Mitt Romney among Jews by a margin fo 61% to 28% according to the survey of more than 1,000 American Jews conducted by the American Jewish Committee. President Barack Obama has regained strength among Jewish voters, a closely watched, typically Democratic, bloc, according to an annual survey released this morning.
A spokesman for the American Jewish Committee, Kenneth Bandler, cautioned however that the AJC had retained a new polling company and cautioned against a direct comparison to past surveys.
Obama, who has faced criticism from community leaders over his handling of Israel and has struggled to raise money from some top Jewish donors, won 78% of Jewish voters in 2008 exit polls. But White House officials became worried that he would be unable to repeat that performance, and his numbers dipped steeply in last year’s annual AJC survey, which showed him beating Romney by a margin of just 50% to 32%.
Those numbers may actually understate Obama’s electoral strength with Jews. The survey which the AJC says it tries to keep as consistent as possible from year to year, but which is not a simple random poll, showed Obama leaning John McCain in September of 2008 by 57% to 30%, a somewhat narrower margin than he now leads Romney. In November, exit polls showed him winning 78% of the Jewish vote, part of a strong showing across demographic groups.
The results reflect, in part, an underlying reality that Jewish voters remain - for a variety of reasons including historic ties and demographics - a core Democratic group. Fewer than 20% of the survey’s respondents identified themselves as Republicans, while 52% identified themselves as Democrats.
The survey also found the typical division inside the community, with more observant Jews more likely to be politically conservative.
The survey did suggest the Republican hard line on Israel has the attention of some Jewish voters: Romney performed substantially better among Jews who cited national security and U.S.-Israel relations as top issues, winning 44% and 45% of those groups respectively.
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