Poll: Most Jewish voters want Obama to win

A new Gallup survey found that 61% of Jewish voters prefer Obama to McCain, who got 32% of the Jewish support.

John Mccain 224.88 (photo credit: AP )
John Mccain 224.88
(photo credit: AP )
WASHINGTON - A new Gallup survey found that 61% of Jewish voters prefer Obama to McCain, who got 32% of the Jewish support.
That number is far greater than the rate found for the general population, who only preferred Obama to McCain 45-43, according to the poll. Obama also still trails Clinton in Jewish support, according to the survey, with Clinton winning against Obama in the Jewish community 50%-43%.
Though the results showed Obama is favored by the Jewish community, the Republican Jewish Coalition pounced on them to attack Obama.
"In 2004, John Kerry received 75% of the Jewish vote and George W. Bush received 25%. The recent polling numbers demonstrate Obama's weakness among Jewish voters. This data comes on the heels of the exit poll data from the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton beat Obama among Jewish voters 62%-38%," said RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks.
But the Obama campaign dismissed his comments, with one adviser calling it, "a desperate attempt to squeeze one drop of lemonade out of a mountain of lemons."
Both candidates released statements honoring Israel's 60th birthday. While Clinton, down in delegates and running out of opportunities to pull off a come-from-behind victory, campaigned in upcoming primary states Thursday, Obama was expected to make remarks at the Israel's Washington embassy Independence Day celebration. US Vice President Dick Cheney was the scheduled keynote speaker.
Ahead of the embassy event, The Israel Project presented poll findings showing record support for Israel, with 71% of those surveyed saying America should support Israel in contrast to only 8% for Palestinians, with 14% saying they were uncertain. That's an overwhelming leap from 2002, when just 24% agreed with that sentiment. Though only 2% thought America should support the Palestinian side of the conflict, back then 68% of respondents said neither should be supported or that they didn't know which side to back.
Americans supporters of McCain back Israel in higher numbers than those supporting either of his two Democratic competitors, Obama and Clinton, whose supporters back Israel by similar amounts, according to the survey.
While 78% of McCain voters said they favored Israel as opposed to only 4% who chose the Palestinians, those who backed Obama for president favored Israel over the Palestinians 46%-14%. When matched up with Clinton, McCain voters backed Israel versus the Palestinians 77%-6%, while Clinton's voters broke down 48%-12%.
The numbers are reflective of the stronger support of Republicans generally for Israel found by the poll, which prominent pollsters Stanley Greenberg, a Democrat, and Neil Newhouse, a Republican, conducted of 800 voters in March on behalf of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization.
Greenberg attributed the greater amount of Republican support for Israel to the influence of the years of US President George W. Bush's strong backing of the Jewish state, the growing pool of religious conservatives who are increasingly attentive to Israel's centrality in their religion, and the sense of a shared security threat from Islamic terrorism.
The pollsters added that while support for Israel between adherents of the two parties had once been relatively even, it wasn't that Democratic numbers came down over the years but that Republican numbers have gone up.
The version of the poll that was released did not show the breakdown in intensity of support between respondents belonging to the two parties.
While Republicans and Democrats both overwhelmingly favored Israel's use of checkpoints (Republicans at 87% and Democrats at 72%), on the topic of Jerusalem, Republicans wanted the city to remain united by 72%-18%, while Democrats split 47%-30%.
A similarly sharp distinction arose concerning Israel's obligation to provide Gaza with humanitarian services despite the territory being controlled by an entity, Hamas, that wants to destroy Israel. Forty-eight percent of Democrats thought Israel was obliged to provide this assistance and 37% said it was not, almost the opposite of Republicans, of whom only 34% felt Israel was obliged to provide help and 58% felt it was not.
When it came to the candidates, McCain's supporters placed the issue of terrorism much higher on their list of priorities than Democratic voters did. Thirty-eight percent of his backers named it as one of the two top challenges America faces, while only 6% and 5% of Obama and Clinton supporters, respectively, did.