American Jewish party preferences and Jewish voting percentages for presidents over time
President Barack Obama's Job Approval Ratings (Gallup)

Two January 2016 Gallup Polls reported America Jewish political preferences. U.S. Jews’ support for Obama stabilized at 55% after a two year drop, according to Jim Norman. Obama’s approval was cited as highest among liberal, non-religious and highly-educated Jews. Norman asserted that job approval rating among Jews “may indicate that the Jewish community in the US has come to terms with the now-finalized Iran nuclear agreement and Obama’s policies in general concerning the Middle East. In a second poll, reported by Frank Newport, 29% or about 3 in 10 American Jews identify as Republicans—up from 22% in 2008—while 61% of Jews are Democrats—down from 71% seven years ago.

According to Newport, “Jews in the US are proportionately well-represented in Congress, with 28 members of the 535 House and Senate members identifying their religion as Jewish; 5% of all House members and Senators are Jewish, compared with 2% in the adult US population.

In the 2012 presidential election, Romney received 30% and Obama 69% of the Jewish vote respectively. “In the 2008 election Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote, suggesting that four years later there was a noticeable increase in American Jewish electoral dissatisfaction with his attitude and positions toward Israel.

For comparative purposes, the highest percentages of Jewish votes for president (90%) were given to Johnson (1964) and to Roosevelt (1940). The two Republican presidential candidates that received the highest percentage of Jewish votes were Reagan (1980) 39%, followed by 35% received both by Bush (1988) and Nixon (1972).

The lowest percentage of Jewish votes to Democratic presidential contenders was 45% to Carter (1980), a precipitous drop from the 71% Carter received in the 1976 election.

One certitude from earlier elections: candidates that speak forcefully about a strong US-Israeli relationship and a need to provide Israel with a qualitative military advantage over any array of adversaries, secure the attention of American Jewish voters who put Israel at the top of their list in determining who should receive their vote in congressional and presidential election contests.

Ken Stein (2.1.2016)