American Jews approve of President Barack Obama more than any other religious group in the US, a Gallup poll released Friday found.
Though Jewish support for Obama had dropped from highs of 83 percent in January to 64%, the trend follows falling support among the general population. His approval rating stood at 52% overall, down from 66% in January, according to the poll.
The only other group with similar regard for Obama was non-religious Americans, 65% of whom approve of the US president.
Despite reports of tensions between Israel and the US, as well as criticism from some quarters of the American Jewish community regarding the White House's treatment of Israel, the survey concluded that they hadn't greatly affected Jewish attitudes.
"The decline in approval of Obama among Jews since January is no greater than that seen among the general public," the survey pointed out. "This suggests that since Obama became president, his actions on Middle East policy issues - particularly relating to Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute - have not had a disproportionately negative (or positive) impact on his image among US Jews."
In general, Gallup ascribed the continuing support of American Jewry to its "partisanship," as a constituency that is overwhelmingly Democrat. According to exit polls at the time of the election last November, 78% of American Jews voted for Obama.
The survey noted that this high level of support contrasts significantly with the views of Jewish Israelis, citing a recent Jerusalem Post poll in which only 4% of the latter considered Obama pro-Israel.
The Gallup poll was conducted by telephone with 379 Jewish
adults in September, with a margin of error of +/- 6%.
The National Jewish Democratic Council welcomed the results as demonstrating "clearly once and for all what we've known to be true for some time: Obama was elected with overwhelming support from American Jews, and he continues to enjoy overwhelming and strong support from American Jews," according to NJDC President David Harris.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, however, seized on the drop in support as proof that Jewish voters regretted their earlier backing of Obama.
"The results of the poll reinforce what we and others have been saying for some time, that many in the Jewish community are experiencing 'buyer's remorse' with regard to their support for President Obama," RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a second poll from September, on the FoxNews site, found that 77% of Americans are worried about a nuclear Iran, with 69% saying Obama hasn't been tough enough on Iran. Some 61% reported that they supported the US taking military action to stop an Iranian nuclear weapon, up from 41% in January 2005. Twenty-eight percent were opposed, in comparison to 46% who had been against the use of force in 2005. According to the poll, only 29% of respondents thought it would be possible to stop Iran from going nuclear without employing military means, while 59% thought the use of force would be necessary.
The telephone survey of 900 adults was conducted during the last week of September with a +/- 3% margin of error.