Israeli Jews prefer Republican candidate Mitt Romney over US President Barack Obama by an almost 3:1 margin, according to a "Peace Index" poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University that was released Sunday.
The polling figures stand in stark contrast to polls taken of American Jews, which show they prefer Obama by a similarly wide margin. An American Jewish Committee poll at the end of September showed US Jews favoring Obama over Romney 63%-27%.
The "Peace Index" poll also puts Israel at odds with most of the rest of the world, which – according to a BBC poll published last week of nearly 22,000 people in 21 countries -- found Obama favored by an average of 50%, with only 9% for Romney. The Democrat was the preferred candidate in every country polled, except for Pakistan.
Asked "in terms of Israeli interests, who would be preferable to win the elections next month in the US," 57.2% of Israeli Jews said Romney, while only 21.5% said Obama.
Among Israeli Arabs, the numbers were reversed, with 45% opting for Obama, and 15% for Romney.
A similar Peace Index poll in July found that Israelis felt that Romney "assigned more importance to defending Israel's national interest" than Obama by a 2:1 ratio: 40% for Romney to 19% for Obama.
The latest poll was carried out among 601 respondents making up a representative sample of Israel's adult population. It was carried out October 22-24, and had a margin of error of 4.5%.
In another question related to the US elections, more than two-thirds of Israeli Jews (69%) do not believe that the results of the US's November 6th elections will affect the outcome of the Israeli elections some 10 weeks later, while 51% of Israeli Arabs believe they will have an impact.
There has been some speculation that an Obama victory could be bad for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, since the Israeli electorate might then want to vote in a prime minister likely to have better ties with the president; and that a Romney victory might help Netanyahu, because the public will want a prime minister known to have a good rapport with Romney.
On other matters, the poll found that more than half the country's Jews (53%) do not believe there were opportunities during Netanyahu's current term to restart the negotiations with the Palestinians that he did not take advantage of, while some 32% believed that he did miss opportunities. The data for Arab Israelis was reversed, with 56% saying he passed up opportunities, and 36% saying he did not.
Some 60% of the respondents either fully agree or agree to some extent with the premise that Israel's security and diplomatic policy toward the Palestinians will not change significantly regardless of what government is formed following the next elections. That percentage rises to 65% among Israeli Arabs.
When presented with the same remark regarding whether the country's socioeconomic polices will stay he same regardless of what government is formed, 46% of the Jews and 63% of the Arab population agreed with that statement.
Some 64% of the Jewish population, and 35% of the Arabs, said it was either very undesirable or undesirable to some extent for Arab political parties to be part of the next governing coalition.