Earlier this week, a new poll reflecting Jewish political behavior since the outbreak of the Gaza Conflict was released:
…the non-partisan Jewish Electorate Institute found that 74% of Jewish voters approve of President Biden’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas. The survey, conducted from November 5-9 by GBAO Strategies, measured the attitudes of the American Jewish electorate in response to Hamas’s attack on Israel, the threat of antisemitism, and their preferences for the 2024 presidential election.
The poll confirmed that American Jews are outperforming other ethnic and racial groups regarding their support of President Biden at this time. 66% of Jewish voters polled approved of the President’s job performance. Former President Donald Trump received a 22% “favorability score”.
American Jews remain highly connected to Israel, as 82% indicated an “emotional attachment” to the Jewish State. Support for Israel appeared to be strong among all sectors, whether measured by religious affiliation, by sexual orientation, or based on age.
Particularly striking in this study, released only a few days ago, is the data involving the high-level of concern (93%) that Jews are expressing regarding the rise of anti-Semitism within the United States. 91% of Jewish voters believe that someone can be critical of Israeli government policy and still be pro-Israel.
In connection with the Administration’s handling of the Gaza Conflict, Jews expressed overwhelming support for the President. By contrast, younger Jews, ages 18-35, whose attachment to Israel is significantly lower than older constituencies, was reflected as well in this study. These generational divisions were likewise reflected by the lower levels of financial support that younger Jews would like to see the United States provide to Israel.
The study noted the extraordinarily high media connection of Jewish audiences to the events unfolding within Israel: How closely are you following the news coverage of Hamas’s October 7th attack against Israel and the war between Israel and Hamas? Some 97% of Jewish Americans indicated that they were regularly monitoring the news.
Likewise, when asked about US assistance to Israel and to the Ukraine, overwhelming numbers of Jews (77%) endorsed such financial aid.
No doubt, the events surrounding October 7th will have a profound impact on Jewish political behavior moving forward, as referenced in this study. There will be a growing discussion about where in the future the “political home” for American Jewry will be situated? Will Jews continue to reside inside the Democratic Party, despite the presence of the Progressive Left, or will our community move elsewhere? Among the questions that will impact voters in next year’s elections what is likely to be the political balance between the self-interests of the community, namely Israeli security and increased levels of anti-Semitism and the broader concerns involving this nation’s economy, security considerations, immigration policies, environmental challenges, and a host of other domestic priorities that impact Jewish voters as well?
It is important to monitor voting behavior in the several key “swing states” where the “Jewish vote” can be particularly important in a highly contested national election. Among the “purple” states in play include Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
As this writer has suggested in earlier pieces, it will be important to monitor two critical factors, the movement of Jewish political donations and the particular interest that Jews may have with third-party candidates in the 2024 election.
In light of the volatility of America’s politics, the year ahead will be among the most politically challenging for Jewish Americans