Frequently asked questions about the Jewish electorate

May 31, 2019


As we travel across the country engaging with supporters of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), we have repeatedly heard a desire for factual information our supporters can use to refute false narratives about the Jewish electorate. Today’s newsletter aims to provide you with this information in the form of “frequently asked questions about the Jewish electorate.” If you find this useful, please share with others by forwarding this email to your network. Read on for more…

Last week the non-partisan Jewish Electorate Institute (JEI) released a poll providing valuable insight into the political preferences and priorities of the Jewish electorate. The poll has received significant attention by the media across the country and in Israel, and we are using this new data to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Jewish electorate:

1) How do Jewish voters view President Trump?

  • 71 percent of Jewish voters disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president;
  • 70 percent of Jewish voters have an unfavorable view of President Trump; and
  • Only 23 percent of Jewish voters would support President Trump in 2020.

2) How do Jewish voters view President Trump’s policies?

  • Jewish voters overwhelmingly disapprove of the president’s handling of the following issues:
    • Family separations at the Mexican border (78 percent);
    • Gun safety (74 percent);
    • The Mueller Report (73 percent);
    • Building of a border wall (71 percent);
    • Anti-Semitism (71 percent);
    • Taxes (70 percent);
    • Healthcare (69 percent); and
    • Supreme Court nominations (69 percent).

3) Which policy priorities are driving the Jewish vote?

  • When asked which are the most important issues when deciding which candidate to support, Jewish voters overwhelmingly prioritize domestic policy issues, such as:
    • Protecting Medicare and social security (87 percent);
    • Improving the economy and creating jobs (86 percent);
    • Combatting terrorism (82 percent);
    • Making quality healthcare available to every American (80 percent);
    • Enacting gun safety laws (79 percent); and
    • Combatting influence of white supremacists and the far-right (78 percent).

4) Where does Israel rank as a policy priority driving the Jewish vote?

  • 90 percent of Jewish voters identified as “pro-Israel.”
  • Of the 16 policy priorities presented in the poll, policy related to Israel ranks the lowest for Jewish voters when deciding which candidate to support.
    • This is the second year in a row that JEI’s non-partisan polling found this to be the case, demonstrating that Jewish voters are prioritizing domestic policy issues above Israel when deciding which candidate to support.
    • It also demonstrates that Jewish voters – who overwhelmingly support Democrats and are “pro-Israel” – are confident in where Democratic candidates stand on issues related to Israel.

5) How do Jewish voters view the rise of anti-Semitism?

  • 73 percent of Jewish voters believe Jews in the United States are less secure than they were two years ago;
  • 71 percent of Jewish voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of anti-Semitism;
  • 59 percent of Jewish voters believe President Trump is at least partially responsible for recent targeted attacks on synagogues; and
  • 43 percent of Jewish voters believe the best way to improve the security of the Jewish community is to elect candidates who share their values.

6) Has Jewish support for Republicans increased under President Trump?

  • No. The poll is very clear on this fact, despite the repeated false claims of President Trump regarding the Jewish electorate.
  • Since JEI’s October 2018 poll, the percentage of Jewish voters who identify as Republican remains exactly the same (25 percent).
  • Exit polling from Pew demonstrates that the percent of Jewish support for Republicans has been halved since the 2014 midterm election, from 33 percent in 2014 to 17 percent in the 2018 midterm election.

7) Why have Republicans repeatedly failed to capture a significant share of the Jewish vote?

  • Jewish voters prioritize domestic policy issues that relate to Jewish values, such as providing access to affordable health care, protecting Medicare and Social Security, enacting gun safety laws to protect our communities from the epidemic of gun violence, combatting the rise of white supremacy, defending against climate change, and protecting individual rights, including reproductive rights.
  • Jewish voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Republicans’ handling of domestic policy issues that speak to these values, with a recent emphasis on President Trump’s discriminatory and inhumane policies related to immigration.
  • American Jews remain staunchly pro-Israel, yet this is not their top voting priority. and they know that support of Israel remains strong among Democrats.
  • Jews vote their values, and so long as Republicans support policies that betray such values – as they have repeatedly done under President Trump – and overwhelming majority of Jewish voters will continue to support Democrats.

JDCA Speaking Out

A few highlights from our week…

  • We responded to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s statement by reaffirming our support for ongoing efforts in Congress to fully investigate the critically important findings of the Mueller Report.
  • We condemned Republicans for blocking a bill aimed at combatting election interference.
  • We commended the Illinois State House for passing a bill that protects reproductive rights.
  • We condemned President Trump for disrespecting the legacy of the late Senator John McCain, as well as disrespecting our military, during his trip to Japan.
  • We urged delegates at the the California Democratic State Convention to reject (DELETE: not to pass) anti-Israel resolutions.
  • We warned against efforts to politicize and divide the pro-Israel community over bills designed to fight the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

These are just a fraction of our activities. Every week brings challenges, and every week, we meet them. Stay informed in real-time by following JDCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, take action with JDCA, and be sure to visit our online store!

Shabbat Shalom,

Ron Klein,
Chair, Jewish Democratic Council of America

Halie Soifer
Executive Director, Jewish Democratic Council of America