Featured Post

The American Jewish vote: Some hard data

History shows that no matter how hard Republicans try, Democrats nationwide continue to retain the vast majority of Jewish support

We hear it every four years. This election, conservative pundits and advocates say, will be the election when Jewish voters finally abandon the Democratic Party en masse and vote Republican.

In 2008, they were sure of it. The conventional wisdom was that then-candidate Barack Obama would lose Jewish support, or so they said. But after an electoral victory supported by three-quarters of the Jewish vote, the prognosticators were proven wrong.

In 2012, the same chorus of conservatives is singing the same tune and hoping for a different result. However, the Jewish community is sure to prove them wrong again.

Since as far back as the 1920s, Jewish voters have overwhelmingly sided with Democratic candidates, from local to national elections. In every cycle and at every turning point, in times of recession or prosperity, war or peace, Jewish voters have placed their faith in the policies and philosophy, vision and values, of Democratic leaders.

Whether the issues surrounded the New Deal or the Fair Deal, civil rights or economic justice, our alliance with Israel or our policies around the globe, the vast majority of American Jewish voters have entered the voting booth to punch the Democratic ticket.

Recently, Republican analysts, without significant data to prove their point, have asserted that Jews would slowly, but surely, migrate to the right side of the aisle. Yet, the facts and figures bear out a simple electoral truth: The Jewish community has been, and remains, one of the most reliable Democratic voting blocs in the country.

A new report by the non-partisan Solomon Project (PDF download) confirms this truth once again. Analyzing data from the past three decades, the authors paint a picture of steadfast and, in some cases, growing Jewish support for Democrats.

Since 1984, researchers found that American Jews have been remarkably consistent in their voting patterns, far outpacing support for Democrats across the country as a whole. Since 1992, Jewish backing for Democrats has risen compared to previous decades – and there is no evidence to suggest significant, lasting, or noteworthy gains for Republicans. Furthermore, on the congressional level, Democratic support in the Jewish community has not dropped below 70 percent in nearly four decades.

Looking at trends for the future, the study notes that more than three-quarters of younger Jewish voters – those under 30 years of age – backed Democrats in the past three presidential elections. As you read through the numbers, the conclusion remains the same: The American Jewish community has not abandoned the Democratic Party, and there’s no reason to believe this November will be any different.

No matter how hard Republicans try, no matter how much time conservatives spend convincing themselves otherwise, President Obama and Democrats nationwide will retain the vast majority of Jewish support.

Polling shows that this steadfast support is due to the fact that the president and his party stand for the values shared across the Jewish community. They stand for the policies and positions endorsed by a wide range of American Jews: creating jobs and economic fairness for the middle class; securing health care reform for all Americans; protecting a woman’s right to choose; building stronger schools for students and safer communities for families; and ensuring historic, unprecedented, and unwavering support for Israel’s security.

The numbers tell the story. Our history bears it out. As Republicans once again base their predictions of gaining significant Jewish support on hope, there’s little reason to believe that Election Day will transform their long-held dreams into reality.

About the Author
A writer and consultant, David A. Harris served as the President & CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council until 2013. David previously worked as NJDC's Deputy Executive Director for seven years, and as the Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition for three years. David has also served as the Director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the American Jewish Congress and as the Washington Representative for the Israel Policy Forum; in Democratic politics, David was a congressional fellow for the late Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) and a congressional campaign manager as well. David is a native of West Lafayette, Indiana, and lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Megan.