By Eric Cortellessa
Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders would overwhelmingly outperform US President Donald Trump with US Jewish voters in a head-to-head match-up this fall, according to new polling from the non-partisan Jewish Electorate Institute (JEI).
The self-proclaimed democratic socialist would defeat Trump with the demographic group 65% to 30%, despite only 52% of American Jews having a favorable view of Sanders and 45% having an unfavorable view of him, the survey found.
Trump is far more unpopular with the US Jewish community. Sixty-six percent of the poll’s respondents disapprove of the job he’s doing in office.
Indeed, according to JEI, every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate would defeat Trump handily with Jewish voters in a general election. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg would win 69% to 31%; Bloomberg 67% to 28%; Biden 67% to 31%; and Warren 65% to 32%.
Sanders, however, leads the pack after winning the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses and claiming the highest number of pledged delegates to date. At the same time, he is surging nationally.
From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Vice President Joe Biden, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The poll, conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Associates on behalf of JEI, took place from February 18-24. The online survey of 1,001 self-identified Jewish voters who indicate that they are likely to vote in the November election has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.
Only 32% of Jewish voters characterized Israel as “one of the most important” issues to them in the upcoming election. Of far greater concern to the respondents are healthcare, medicare and social security, and gun safety.
US Jewish voters, nevertheless, remain highly supportive of the Jewish state: 91% said they were generally pro-Israel, while 56% identified themselves as “critical” of the Netanyahu government.
The survey also found that the vast majority of American Jews identify as Democrats over Republicans — roughly 62-25%, with the rest having no party affiliation.
“While Jewish voters have differing opinions about the major Democratic candidates, the poll demonstrates that they will overwhelmingly support any of the current Democratic candidates over President Trump at nearly equal levels, and that Israel is not driving the Jewish vote,” said Frederick Yang, one of the pollsters.
While a large majority of US Jewish voters disapprove of Trump’s performance on domestic policy issues — from taxes to healthcare and reproductive rights — a slim majority approves of his management of US-Israel relations.
Fifty-one percent of Jews said they approved of his Israel policies; 39% said they disapproved. A slightly larger majority (52%) said they approved of his decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights.