The quickest poll results are in on the Jewish vote. The exit and election night polls of 800 voters who identified as Jewish were conducted for J-Street and conducted by Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies. It showed that U.S. President Barack Obama received tremendous support from Jewish voters, and most likely received 70% of the Jewish vote nationwide. This is a decline of about four points (for this survey), but remains high. Their survey of 1,200 Jewish voters in Florida and Ohio also showed strong support for Obama, 68% and 69% respectively. Incumbent U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is believed to have received 71% of the Ohio Jewish vote (compared to 69% of Obama).
The survey results can be seen HERE.
Similar to other American voters, the survey respondents cited the U.S. economy as the most important issue (53% cited it as the determining factor in their vote). The next most important issues that influenced Jewish voters were healthcare (32%), Social Security and Medicare programs and funding (23%), and the federal deficit (20%). Only ten percent (10%) of survey respondents cited Israel as one of the two most important issues. 58% of respondents felt Obama would do a better job than Romney on the issue of Iran and its nuclear ambitions, while respondents trust Obama more than Romney by a margin of 53-31 on the topic of support for Israel.
45% of those surveyed reported that they saw a television ad or direct mail piece that criticized President Obama for his positions or actions toward Israel, but only 23% of these respondents said that the ads made them more likely to support Romney. 38% percent replied that the ads made them more likely to support Obama.
A plurality of respondents (47%) think the U.S. needs to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work against Iran. This compares to 35% who think diplomacy and sanctions have failed, and it is not time to set “red lines.”
The 70% support for Obama among Jewish voters compares as follows to other surveyed respondents: White Evangelicals (24% for Obama); Protestants (45% for Obama); Catholics (54% for Obama); No Religion (75% for Obama), Hispanics (67% for Obama).
Jim Gerstein, the pollster who conducted the survey of Jewish voters, suggested that the GOP, and its socially conservative standard bearer, placed too much weight on each candidate’s positions toward Israel in its effort to sway Jewish voters. As long as the candidate has passed a certain level of support for Israel, “Jews move on to other issues,” Gerstein added.
69% of survey respondents had unfavorable views towards The Tea Party Movement, and 56% could not identify Sheldon Adelson. Of the 44% of respondents who recognized Adelson’s name, 29% had an unfavorable view of him or his activities. None had yet heard his comments about Jewish husband’s and their wives who enjoy spending money.
10% of those surveyed identified themselves as Orthodox Jews, 27% as unaffiliated, 32% as Reform, and 27% as part of the Conservative movement.
82% of those surveyed knew who Price Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is. 18% of those surveyed thought the Israeli Prime Minister tried to help Mitt Romney, while 16% thought he tried to help Obama. 67% replied that the PM did not try to help either candidate. Of the 34% who thought Netanyahu was trying to help either candidate, 21% (or 7% of respondents) said that the actions made them more likely to support Romney.
As a red herring, the survey asked Jewish voters if they would support either Obama or Romney appointing former President Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the Middle East to promote peace. Most supported this idea. Also 51% felt the the United Nations treated Israel unfairly, and 49% felt that the U.N. was fair to Israel.
69% of respondents have never been to Israel, 40% hardly ever or never attend a synagogue service, and 59% are not members of a synagogue (meaning not just the unaffiliated are not paying dues). 54% of those surveyed were over 50 years old (maybe they didn’t call enough cell phones)
I invite you to read the survey results since they have great information for anyone wondering about the future of Jewish institutions, support for Israel, and more.