Most exit polls placed President Barack Obama’s support among Jewish voters in the 2008 election at upwards of 75 percent. A pretty impressive show of support by anyone’s estimation.
Now, however, that strong backing for the Democratic President among America’s Jews appears to be growing weaker, according to two new polls released in recent weeks.
If the election were held today, only 42 percent of American Jews would cast their ballots in favor of the re-election of Pres. Obama, according to a national survey of Jewish voters conducted by McLaughlin & Associates. Forty-six percent would opt to vote for someone else. According to the McLaughlin poll, 50 percent of Jewish voters approve of Obama’s handling of America’s relations with Israel, while 39 percent disapprove. Not a good sign for a group of voters 59 percent of whom are registered Democrats, with only 16 percent registered Republicans. Likewise, 64 percent say Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, while only 13 percent say that the U.S. should force Israel to relinquish part of the city to the Palestinians. Seventy-three percent say Israel is right to insist upon the Palestinians accepting israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state before there are any negotiations about a Palestinian state.
The President did not fair any better in a subsequent national survey of registered voters conducted by Quinnipiac University. In that poll a staggering 67 percent of American Jews disapprove of Obama’s handling of Israel-Palestinian relations. Only 28 percent give him a thumbs up on the issue.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, the president doesn’t fare much better among the general population. Only 35 percent of American voters approve of his handling of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians. Forty-four percent disapprove; with five percent unsure.
The general public remains strong supporters of Israel, with two-thirds of those surveyed saying that the president should be a strong supporter of the Jewish state, even though 42 percent believe that he is not.
Interestingly, despite the recent rift between the Obama administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, precipitated by Israel’s continued housing construction in Jerusalem, Americans – both Jewish and non-Jewish – remain solidly in Netanyahu’s corner. The Israeli prime minister’s favorability margin among American Jews is 58 to 26 percent; and among Americans, 30 to 14 percent (the remainder are unfamiliar with Netanyahu).
The McLaughlin & Associates national survey of 600 randomly selected, likely Jewish voters was conducted April 7 and 8. It has a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points at a 95% confidence interval.
The Quinnipiac University poll is based on a survey of 1,930 registered voters nationwide, conducted between April 14 and 19. It has a margin of error of +/-2.2 percentage points.