Poll shows Jewish support for Obama drops slightly

Support for US president among American Jews at lowest point this year; weakest among Jews who regularly attend synagogue, Gallup poll finds.

US President Barack Obama at AIPAC 311 (R) (photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)
US President Barack Obama at AIPAC 311 (R)
(photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)
A Gallup Poll released Tuesday surveying attitudes of Jewish-Americans showed that support for US President Barack Obama has fallen slightly to its lowest point this year – with 60 percent of American Jews giving him a positive job-approval rating, and 32% now disapproving.
According to the poll results, Obama’s foreign-policy address to the US State Department on May 19 did not have a major impact on Jewish opinion – despite the negative reaction from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Obama’s support in his speech for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the pre- 1967 lines.
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At the time, the president’s job-approval rating in general, and among Jews, was artificially high at 68%, following the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
According to Gallup, Obama’s 45- day average job-approval rating among Jews before his speech was 65%, and 62% in the following 45 days – a decline falling within the 6-point margin of error for the poll.
This follows a general decline in support from Jewish-Americans for Obama, having fallen from the 83% job-approval he enjoyed at the beginning of his administration, although this reflects the same rate of decline in support as has occurred in the general US population, Gallup says.
“The level of Jewish support Obama received in the last election is not guaranteed for 2012,” said Larry Grossman, director of publications and a senior official at the American Jewish Committee, regarding the poll.
“He’ll still get the majority of the Jewish vote, the question is will there be backsliding from the very high percentage he got last time? This might be significant in swingstates with large Jewish populations – although it’s too early to make definitive pronouncements at this stage of the game,” Grossman added.
The continuing fall in Jewish support for Obama might also be significant regarding the level of contributions Jewish Democratic donors will provide for the 2012 presidential campaign.
“There are a lot of reports that these donors are now on the fence,” said Grossman. “They may not be as generous to Obama as they were last time around. Things could easily change though, [because] Jews don’t just vote on Jewish issues.
“The economy is front-and-center for all American voters, so if the economy turns around between now and then everything could change,” he added.
According to Gallup’s poll, support for Obama is weakest among Jews who regularly attend synagogue, standing at 51%, whereas those who seldom or never attend services stands at 70%.