This October 16, 2018 analysis represents the findings of a national survey of 800 voters designed to reflect the likely 2018 Jewish electorate. Interviews were conducted online though a randomly selected panel October 2-11, 2018. The sample utilized a matching method to reflect the Jewish electorate; all respondents were screened for Jewish identity and likely participation in the Nov. 2018 general election. The margin of error is +/- 3.5% at the 95% level of confidence (higher for subgroups). This survey was conducted by The Mellman Group on behalf of the Jewish Electorate Institute.
Our just completed national survey reveals substantial antipathy toward Donald Trump, his policies and his party among American Jews. The community plans to vote Democratic in vast numbers both in 2018 and 2020. While Jewish voters approve of Trump’s handling of US-Israeli relations by a small margin, this does very little to increase support for Trump in the Jewish community, which is focused on a wide variety of mostly domestic issues in this election.
The Lion’s Share Of Jewish Voters Identify As Democratic And Liberal
Large majorities of Jewish voters identify as Democrats and as liberals; and they plan to vote Democratic in upcoming elections. More than two-thirds (68%) of Jewish voters identify as Democrats, while only a quarter (25%) identify as Republicans.
Overall, 47% of Americans identify as Democrats and 44% as Republicans according to Gallup’s recent survey.
Thus, Jewish identification with Democrats is over 20 points higher than for Americans as a whole, while Jews are also about 20 points less likely to consider themselves Republicans. This 40 point advantage in Democratic identification has been common for decades.
Likewise, 64% of Jewish voters consider themselves to be liberals, while only 29% call themselves conservatives.
American Jews Overwhelmingly Support Democratic Candidates
Jewish voters are planning to cast ballots for Democrats in Congressional races this year, and for President in 2020. By a 74% to 26% margin, Jewish voters say they will vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress in their district this year.
Similarly, when considering the 2020 Presidential election, 74% say they will vote for a Democratic candidate, while just 26% will vote for Donald Trump.
Indeed, President Trump is distinctly unpopular with American Jews, more than three -quarters (76%) of whom hold an unfavorable view of him, while just 23% express favorable opinions. On average 42% of Americans have favorable views of Trump, with 55% unfavorable.
By contrast, Democratic figures like Barack Obama (72% favorable, 28% unfavorable) and Joe Biden (74% favorable, 26% unfavorable) are well – liked by Jewish voters.
Jewish Voters Are Critical Of Trump’s Job Performance Overall Though A Bare Majority Approve Of His Handling Of US-Israel Relations
Overall just 25% of American Jews approve of the job Trump is doing as President, while 75% disapprove. Here too Jews prove far more hostile to Trump than the population at large. On average, about 43% of Americans overall approve of the job the President is doing, while 53% disapprove.
Large majorities of Jews disapprove of Trump’s handling of every issue with one exception: US-Israel relations where they divide evenly (51% approve, 49% disapprove). Most of those who feel positively about his handling of US-Israel relations are those who support him more broadly. Just 35% of those who disapprove Trump’s performance overall, approve of the way he is handling Israel.
In every other arena there is massive disapproval. Indeed, as the graph indicates, 70% or more of Jewish voters disapprove of his handling of anti-Semitism, the Iran nuclear deal, foreign policy, immigration, Supreme Court nominations, gun safety, the environment and healthcare. Over sixty percent (62%) disapprove of Trump’s handling of US relations with the Palestinians.
Trump’s Policy On Israel Does Little To Generate Support For Him Among Jewish Voters
While a bare majority (51%) of Jewish voters approve of the way the President is handling US-Israel relations, very few are willing to support him on that basis alone. Only 6% of Jewish voters say Trump’s Israel policy will cause them to consider voting for him despite their disagreements with him on other important issues. Another 20% say they “support President Trump’s policy on Israel, but I disagree with him on too many other important issues, so I will not consider voting for him.”
Twenty-one percent support Trump’s polices in general and over half (51%) oppose him across the board.
In total, more than 7 in 10 Jewish voters (71%) say they will not consider voting for Trump in 2020.
In addition, American Jews see Democrats as a pro-Israel party. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Jewish voters believe Democrats are “pro-Israel,” including 84% of those who identify themselves as Democrats.
Jewish Voters Weigh Many – Mostly Domestic – Issues When Deciding How To Vote
While 92% of American Jews consider themselves “pro-Israel,” and a significant number said a candidate’s support for Israel was an important consideration for them, it is clearly just one of many issues they will consider. Just over half (52%) said that “whether the candidate supports Israel” is at least “very important” to them, ranking well below a number of other issues, including “the kind of Supreme Court Justices the candidate will support” (90% at least very important—a number possibly inflated somewhat as a result of the contentious Kavanaugh confirmation taking place while this poll was fielding), the economy and jobs (87%), “protecting Medicare and Social Security” (84% at least very important), “making quality affordable healthcare available to every American” (83% at least very important) and “making taxes more fair” (80%).
Again, since the vast majority of Jews are themselves “pro-Israel” (92%) and since they see Democrats as a pro-Israel party, there is no particular reason this should emerge as a critical voting issue compared to those on which real differences between the parties are widely perceived.
Jewish Voters Consider Themselves Pro-Israel, Though Many Are Critical Of The Current Israeli Government
Most Jewish voters (92%) consider themselves to be “generally pro-Israel,” but fewer than a third (32%) say that they are also supportive of the current Israeli government’s policies. A majority (59%) say that they are “pro-Israel,” but critical of at least some Israeli government policies, with 24% critical of many of the government’s policies.
American Jews remain fiercely loyal to the Democratic Party, which they see as pro-Israel and also as representing their views on a wide range of issues, both foreign and domestic. They offer negative assessments of President Trump and nearly all his polices, and prioritize domestic issues in deciding which candidate to support. Jews will once again be voting for Democrats in overwhelming numbers next month.