October 2nd, 2009
This week’s Jewish Week led with a story about the American Jewish Committee’s annual survey of Jewish public opinion and the startling statistic that 56 percent of Jews here now favor a U.S. military strike to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Some Jewish leaders I talked to insisted Jewish voters are just following a national trend, and now there’s some polling data to support the claim – if you trust Fox News (more on that later).
According to a new Fox survey of 900 voters, 61 percent of Americans in general support “the United States taking military action to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” with 28 percent opposing.
If that’s true, it puts the AJC numbers in context a little. You’d expect Jews to be way more supportive than other Americans of strong action to stop Iran’s nuke program because of their connection to Israel – but maybe less supportive because so many are Democrats, and liberals to boot.
If the 61 percent figure for all Americans is accurate, the 56 percent in the Jewish community – a strong showing but lagging behind the nation as a whole – is a little more understandable.
Now the caveat: the numbers on Iran come near the end of a poll with some pretty loaded questions like this one: “Do you think Barack Obama’s travel and speaking schedule makes him look more like he’s a candidate on the campaign trail or more like he’s president of the United States?” (43 percent said “more like a candidate).” And this one: “Do you think President Obama apologizes too much to the rest of the world for past U.S. policies?” (51 percent said “yes.”)
Those were questions 3 and 4. Don’t you suppose there was a little priming of the pump going on here?
The Iran question was straightforward and the results of many other questions are in line with other survey data, but still, it’s hard not to suspect a political agenda at work in this survey.
Still, the Iran results are interesting and maybe help explain what’s going on in the Jewish community.