Israel Not a Priority for Jewish Voters

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 10:24 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — Shattering myths, Jewish voters in the last election cared far more about the economy and healthcare than policies toward Israel, according to a poll released by the pro-Israel organization J Street.
 
Conducted by Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies on Nov. 6, the poll shatters the conventional wisdom that favorable policies toward Israel win Jewish votes.
 
The poll found that President Obama received 70 percent of the Jewish vote, in line with the 70 percent average received by Democratic candidates since exit polling began in 1972. The poll attributes the shift from the 74 percent of the Jewish vote received in 2008 to changes among other demographic groups such as college graduates, whites, independents, voters under 30, and Catholics.

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Relatively few American Jews based their vote on Israel, with only 10 percent saying it was among their top two issues that decided their vote. More Jewish voters gave greater priority to the economy (53 percent), healthcare (32 percent), Social Security and Medicare (23 percent), the deficit and government spending (20 percent), taxes (12 percent), and abortion (10 percent).
 
Advertisements criticizing President Obama on Israel backfired with Jewish voters and more often solidified support for the president, the poll found.
 
Among the 45 percent of American Jews who saw television ads or mail that criticized Obama on his policies toward Israel, 40 percent said they made no difference, 38 percent said the ads made them more likely to support Obama, and only 23 percent said the ads made them more likely to support Mitt Romney.
 
The poll found that 73 percent of American Jews agree with President Obama’s policies concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict, up from 71 percent in 2010.
 
Campaign contributions by Jewish donors remained steady for both Obama and the Republican candidate from 2008 to 2012. Obama received a contribution from 19 percent of Jews in both 2008 and 2012. Romney’s 6 percent share of contributions from Jews was in line with the 5 percent of contributions that John McCain received from Jews in 2008.
 
The poll found American Jews want the United States to try harder to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A total of 82 percent of Jewish voters support a two-state solution that declares an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, resulting in all Arab countries establishing full diplomatic ties with Israel and creating an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
 
A total of 79 percent of Jewish voters support such a two-state solution even if it means East Jerusalem becomes the capital of the Palestinian state, up from 70 percent in 2009. A total of 76 percent of Jewish voters would support the United States’ proposing its own peace plan for resolving the conflict between the parties.
 
A total of 71 percent of Jewish voters believe the United States should address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the same time or even before addressing the Iranian nuclear program.

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Confirming the results, national surveys conducted by Gallup have found that American Jews have approved of Obama’s job performance throughout his presidency by an average of 14 percentage points more than the rest of the American electorate.
 
The new poll shows that those who think Obama’s policies toward Israel are hurting him with Jews in America are deluding themselves.
 
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
 
 

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