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June 24, 2003

Busting the Myth: Jews Remain Democrats, New Independent Polling Shows

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, NJDC News, Press Releases

Washington, DC: Seventy-one percent of American Jews would definitely vote or consider voting for someone other than President Bush, compared to 51 percent of the population as a whole that would do so, according to new independent polling data released today. The findings show that while 46 percent of all Americans would definitely vote for Bush, only 25 percent of American Jews would do so. These results, aggregated from data collected by the non-partisan Ipsos/Cook Political Report Poll between January of 2002 and March of 2003, are likely to disappoint the White House as they come at a time of overwhelming popularity for the President across the population as a whole ? and at a time when the Republican President has been aggressively courting the Jewish vote.

The survey demonstrates that American Jews remain strongly Democratic, with 64 percent of Jews describing themselves as Democrats, and only 26 percent describing themselves as Republicans. Approximately 64 percent of Jews would like to see Democrats retake control of Congress, versus 24 percent who want to see Republicans retain control.

The Ipsos/Cook Political Report Poll additionally shows that American Jews over the survey period have been dramatically less approving of President Bush?s job performance than other Americans. While 57 percent of all Americans approved of the President?s handling of the economy, only 35 percent of Jews approved; and while 54 percent of all Americans approved of the President?s handling of domestic issues, only 33 percent of Jews approved. Regarding overall job approval, Americans throughout the survey have approved of the way President Bush has performed on the job by a margin of more than two to one, while Jews have been evenly split. The polling results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.

“This important independent survey speaks loudly and clearly: American Jews have been and continue to be strongly Democratic,” said National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira N. Forman. “For many months, there has been a drumbeat of suggestions that American Jews are tilting to the right. Finally, we have clear and reliable data, and it gives the lie to the oft-repeated myth.”

“At a time when President Bush has been embraced among the general population, as many American Jews disapprove of the President’s job in office as approve. Jews have been clearly unhappy with the president on the economic and domestic fronts throughout the five quarters of this survey, with Jewish approval ratings falling behind the total approval figures by more than 20 percentage points. And in what his supporters say is the President’s strongest suit within the Jewish community foreign affairs Jewish approval ratings still lag behind the total approval ratings by at least ten percentage points. It is particularly striking that after September 11th, a war against terrorism and military intervention in Iraq at a time when the President’s approval numbers have been so high among Americans in general that his approval ratings among American Jews have been so mediocre,” Mr. Forman explained.

The data shows that across the five quarters, Jewish party identification has remained remarkably stable, with between 60-70 percent of Jews identifying themselves as Democrats. This number is also reflected in the finding that Jews clearly want to see Democrats retake control of Congress.

“As much as Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, and various GOP operatives have targeted the Jewish community for a political conversion, they have failed,” Mr. Forman said. “The bottom line is that American Jews care deeply about the security of Israel, reproductive rights, the separation of church and state, and many other issues central to the Democratic agenda. This survey demonstrates that American Jews are not being fooled by the misleading headlines describing some supposed realignment of Jewish public opinion. American Jews have been and will remain strongly Democratic, and as this survey shows they will overwhelmingly vote for a Democratic alternative to President Bush in 2004.”

‘A recent news analysis quoted a former Bush administration official as saying that “It would be a shocking display of ingratitude if American Jews were not to support this president....” In short, this White House should prepare to be shocked,’ Mr. Forman added.

To receive a complete data set relating to this survey, please send a blank e-mail to .