The American Jewish Committee has released its 2012 survey of American Jewish opinion and, as expected it focuses on presidential politics. There aren’t too many surprises. The Republican Jewish Committee and Sheldon Adelson continue wasting their millions pounding away with the message that Obama and the Democrats are soft on Israel. The poll finds that 61% of Jews support Obama, while 57% have an unfavorable view of Romney. Only 22% of respondents will base their vote on quality of U.S.-Israel relations. Jews like the rest of Americans care far more about the economy than Israel in deciding their vote.
58% approve of how Obama is handling the U.S. Israel relationship. However, 70% approve of the way Netanyahu is handling the same relationship. It’s important to note that the question did not address an even more important issue for which the result would’ve been much lower: how is Bibi handling the Israel-Palestinian relationship. There’s a reason why they didn’t ask that question.
The poll is also skewed in favor of Israeli or U.S. military action against Iran. It finds most Jews believe sanctions will fail and then follows up by noting that 64% of Jews would support a U.S. attack on Iran and 75% would support an Israeli attack. But you’d have to be reading the fine print to understand that almost no Jews believe that sanctions have yet failed, which means that for the foreseeable future American Jews oppose an Iran attack. 61% approve of Obama’s handling of the Iranian nuclear program. If you consider that Obama’s program opposes a miltiary attack you’d again have to say that most Jews oppose a military strike for some time into the future.
60% of Jews have never visited Israel. 71% of Jews say that caring about Israel is “very important” to their Jewish identity. But the question is almost meaningless since even the some of the most radical and most critical Jews regarding Israel could answer the question affirmatively. Clearly, the pollsters and AJC believe the question elicits an underlying support for Israel and its policies, but it doesn’t.
24% of Jews declare themselves “liberal,” while 20% “lean conservative” or are outright conservative.
One of the most telling aspects of the survey is that there was only a single question dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That speaks volumes regarding the success of both Obama and Netanyahu in removing Palestine from the American Jewish agenda…at least the agenda of the American Jewish pro-Israel elite.
Bob Mann says
Really interesting insights into the American Jewish community in this survey. The result I found most surprising was that the highest percentage of respondents said that the frequency of their attending services, other than for weddings and bar mitzvahs, is “never”.
I’d be curious to see that broken down by age – wondering if this is the trend. I’d also be curious to see how this compares to similar questions about American Christian and Muslim communities. Are American Jews more secular and less religious than their Christian and Muslim counterparts, generally speaking?
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, much more secular. And youth are more secular than elderly.
Bob Mann says
Have you seen this article:
Why Is Obama Slipping Among Jews?
Jews who care about the existence of Israel will vote for Romney. Which is about 20%. Jews who don’t, like Silverstein, won’t
Richard Silverstein says
Ah, the inimitable Bill Pearlman, and actually making a comment that isn’t outright disgusting. He was long banned here, but every yr or so I publish a comment of his to remind readers of how outright dumb, offensive, & wrong-headed his views are.
Shoded Yam says
Bill’s worried. People like you are potentially dangerous because you have the ability to throw a monkey wrench into a system that has made it possible for testicularly challenged shmatta peddlers, like bill, to experience manhood vicariously by way of the blood and substance of 18 year old Israelis, no to mention the actualization of the ever-present holocaust revenge fantasy.