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Election Watch 2016

Jewish PAC endorses Hillary Clinton for president

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Jewish political action committee endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and pledged to help get out the vote for her. JACPAC cited Clinton’s work as secretary of state in trying to bring about Israeli-Arab peace and her embrace of pro-Israel positions, as well as her commitment to maintaining abortion rights. “A Hillary Clinton presidency will be an important step to safeguarding JAC’s issues; the women’s vote will be critical to Hillary’s success and JAC will be working hard to get the vote out,” the group said in a statement. JACPAC focuses on Israel, abortion rights, gun control and church-state separation. It has endorsed Democrats and moderate Republicans in congressional races. JACPAC’s endorsement at this stage reflects the Clinton campaign’s bid to garner Jewish institutional support for the candidate in the face of a stronger than expected challenge by Sanders. Ben Chouake, the president of NORPAC, a major pro-Israel political action committee, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and NORPAC has fundraised for Cruz.


Polls: Clinton, Sanders tied in high favorability among Jews

(JTA) — Jewish Americans score Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at virtually the same high approval ratings.

Gallup said in a March 24 article that an aggregation of Jewish respondents to its daily polling showed Jewish voters favor Sanders, an Independent Vermont senator, at 61 percent favorable, and Clinton, a former secretary of state, at 60 percent. Sanders’ unfavorable ratings are 30 percent and Clinton’s are 35 percent.

Among Republican presidential candidates, only Ohio Gov. John Kasich has higher favorable than unfavorable ratings among Jewish voters, 45 percent to 28 percent. The GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, scores 72 percent unfavorable to 24 percent favorable, and Sen. Ted Cruz scores 72 percent unfavorable, 20 percent favorable.

In the same article, Gallup said that among the general population, 24 percent agreed that the United States should move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, 20 percent disagreed and 56 percent agreed that they “don’t know enough to have an opinion.” That was based on polling from March 9-14. Gallup did not publish a margin of error, but generally its daily election polling has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

All three Republican presidential candidates have said they would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Separately, a poll by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding found that Jews and Muslims are more likely to identify as Democrats than Republicans.

The January poll, which assesses issues of concern to American Muslims, found that Muslims are 44 percent likely to declare as Democrats, 41 percent as Independents and just 6 percent as Republicans. Jews are 50 percent likely to declare as Democrats, 29 percent as Independent and 16 percent as Republicans. Catholics are equally split among all three categories, and Protestants identified as Republican at 47 percent, Democrat at 25 percent and Independent at 24 percent.


Trump surprised by Israeli readiness to make a peace deal

(JTA) — Donald Trump said Israel appears more ready to make an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal than he previously believed. “From the Israeli side, they would love to see a deal,” Trump, the front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nod, told the New York Times in an extensive foreign policy Q&A posted over the weekend.

“And I’ve been a little bit surprised here. Now that I’m really into it, I’ve been a little bit surprised to hear that,” he said. “I would’ve said that maybe, maybe Israel never really wanted to make a deal or doesn’t really want to make a deal. They really want to make a deal, they want to make a good deal, they want to make a fair deal, but they do want to make a deal.”

Trump had said at a Republican Jewish Coalition candidates forum in December that he questioned whether the Israelis or the Palestinians had the commitment to make a peace deal.

In his conversation with the Times, Trump repeated some of the points he made in his speech at the AIPAC conference last week, including a demand that Palestinians recognize Israel’s Jewish character. “The Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state,” he said. “And they have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred… the children are aspiring to grow up to be terrorists. They are taught to grow up to be terrorists.”

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