September 27, 2012 — New York — American Jews are likely to vote to re-elect President Obama by a margin of better than two to one over Gov. Mitt Romney, according to a new American Jewish Committee (AJC) national survey.
Sixty-five percent support Obama, 24 percent support Romney, with 10 percent undecided. When asked preferences, the undecided split 63 percent for Obama and 27 percent for Romney.
It is the second AJC national survey during this election year. In the earlier poll, in March, 61 percent chose Obama and 28 percent preferred Romney. According to exit polls in the 2008 election, American Jews voted for Obama over Senator John McCain by a margin of 78 to 22 percent.
The new AJC survey shows a striking divide by denomination.
Orthodox Jews support Romney over Obama by 54 to 40 percent. Conservative Jews are 64 to 23 percent for Obama. Reform Jews are 68 to 23 percent for the incumbent. The “just Jewish” vote goes 68 to 19 percent for Obama.
In terms of age, support for Obama is quite consistent. In the 18-29 category, 65 percent support Obama and 26 percent are for Romney; among 30-44 year olds, it is 57 to 24 percent for Obama; among 45-59 year olds, it is 65 to 27 percent for Obama; and among those 60-plus, it is 68 to 22 percent for Obama.
By gender, Obama does better among Jewish women, 69 to 19 percent, than among men, 61 to 29 percent, against Romney.
The poll of 1,040 American Jews was conducted on KnowledgePanel®, GfK’s probability-based online panel. The field period was from September 6 to 17 and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
For American Jews the most important issues in deciding how to vote are, in descending order, the economy, health care, and national security.
n 63 percent approve, and 37 percent disapprove, of the way Obama is handling the economy;
n 68 percent approve, and 32 percent disapprove, of the way Obama is handling health care;
n 76 percent approve, and 23 percent disapprove, of the way Obama is handling national security.
On a range of issues, American Jewish voters favor the Democratic Party over the Republican Party for « making the right decisions » — 66-32 percent on the economy; 72-26 percent on health care; and 66-33 percent on national security.
Survey respondents self-identified as Republican –16 percent; Democrat — 55 percent; and Independent — 27 percent.
According to this and previous AJC national surveys, Iran and U.S.-Israel relations continue to be major topics for American Jews.
« This survey, the second of three on the Jewish political outlook in the build-up to November 6, offers vital insights into the thinking of registered Jewish voters,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “The first survey was on the Jewish vote in the battleground state of Florida, and the final survey focuses on another key state, Ohio.”
Iran Nuclear Threat
Iran’s nuclear threat remains a very serious concern for an overwhelming majority of American Jews. A majority would support military action by the United States and, even more, Israel if diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.
n 91 percent are concerned about the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.
n 64 percent say it is unlikely, and 36 percent say it is likely, that a combination of diplomacy and sanctions can stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
n 64 percent would support, and 35 percent oppose, U.S. military action against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop the Iranian program.
n 73 percent would support, and 26 percent oppose, Israeli military action if diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop the Iranian program.
A majority of Jewish voters, 61 percent, approve, while 39 percent disapprove, of the way President Obama is handling the Iranian nuclear program. When asked which major party is likely to make the right decisions regarding Iran’s nuclear program, 61 percent choose the Democratic Party and 37 percent the Republican Party.
For the majority of American Jews, Israel is very much a concern. Seventy-one percent agree and 27 percent disagree with the statement, “Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew.”
On the U.S.-Israel relationship, 61 percent approve, and 39 percent disapprove, of the way President Obama is handling it. When asked which major party is likely to make the right decisions regarding U.S.-Israel relations, 60 percent choose the Democratic Party and 39 percent the Republican Party.
Regarding Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship, 68 percent approve, while 31 percent disapprove.
On prospects for Arab-Israeli peace, 8 percent of American Jews said the chances have increased compared to a year ago, 36 percent said they decreased, and 55 percent said they stayed the same.
Sixty-six percent of respondents said the choice of running mate is important in deciding how to vote, and 33 percent said it is not. For Obama’s selection once again of Joseph Biden as his running mate, 73 percent approved, while 27 percent disapproved. Regarding Romney’s choice of Congressman Paul Ryan, 35 percent approved and 63 percent disapproved.
All AJC surveys, including this month’s survey of Florida Jewish voters, are available at http://www.ajc.org/surveys.
AJC is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit, non-partisan organization that neither endorses nor opposes candidates for elected office. AJC has commissioned surveys of American Jews for many years on a range of key questions as a contribution to better understanding of the American Jewish community.