Snap Fact #181

Post date: May 04, 2012 9:51:16 PM

Snap Fact #181

President Obama Overwhelmingly Earns The Support Of The American Jewish Community Through Deeds And Actions!

Just as they did in 2008, Jews will support Barack Obama in 2012. According to exit polls in 2008, 78% of Jews voted for the President. Every indicator suggests a similar result in 2012.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the President’s staunch support of Israel that makes him so popular among Jews. Virtually every segment of American society is pro-Israel, all regions, both political parties, and Protestants and Catholics, as well as Jews. Indeed the single most pro-Israeli group in the United States, outside of the Jewish community itself, are Evangelical Christians.

Many years ago, a humorist quipped “Jews resemble Episcopalians and Presbyterians in wealth and education, but vote like blacks and Hispanics.” For the last fifty years that has been true. Indeed, in the last hundred years of political opinion polling, Jews have consistently voted for the more liberal Presidential candidate by a margin of 25-30% over other white groups. From the First World War through the Second World War, Jews were heavily involved in the labor movement, and were predominantly recent immigrants. Since World War II, Jews have been particularly successful at climbing the economic ladder, and do rank among the most affluent American groups, along with the aforementioned Episcopalians and Presbyterians, and Mormons as well. But Jews have mostly not voted their “class interests” by voting Republican.

Why? Commentators differ in their explanation of Jewish voting patterns. Some suggest that Jews continue to identify with the less affluent, given their historic experience of prejudice against them. Others suggest that Jews have deeply rooted social consciences which impel them to support the most underprivileged. But the studies of Jewish voting in recent years over and again highlight the concern among Jews that conservative politicians and their politicized fundamentalist Christian allies might degrade the civil liberties and guarantees of full religious liberty that have given Jews in America such comfort and sense of belonging. 

The unholy alliance between politicized fundamentalist Christians and economic/military/national conservatives which make up the Republican Party scares lots of people besides Jews. Although the traditional conservative elements invariably pick the GOP Presidential nominee, the fundamentalist Christians vet Supreme Court and Federal court nominees. Their “right to life” agenda is a list of socially conservative positions which threaten the civil liberties and religious freedom that Jews and many others care about so much.

President Obama has been the most pro-Israeli President in the 64 year history of the Jewish state. But, frankly, Democratic and Republican Presidents throughout that period have followed similar policies toward Israel. The glaring difference for Jews has come on President Obama’s and his Democratic predecessors’ stance on civil liberties, which guarantee the rightful place of Jews and all other diverse groups in American society.