A new study from the Jewish Electorate Institute, with the help of Greenberg Research, found that Jewish voters are overwhelmingly fixated on domestic policy issues such as healthcare, immigration, anti-Semitism and rising insecurity due to white nationalist threats.
JEI is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in August 2018, with a mission to deepen the public’s understanding of the Jewish electorate and mobilize the Jewish vote in future elections. The organization held an online survey of 1,000 Jewish voters that took place May 6 through 12.
In the report’s key findings healthcare is the top policy priority for Jewish voters. 87% of those surveyed considered protecting Medicare and Social Security as an important factor when deciding on a candidate. 86% of the voters surveyed indicated that improving the economy and creating jobs were priorities to them, and 80% noted that access to affordable healthcare was an important factor when deciding which candidate to support. The poll also revealed that 73% of Jewish voters felt less secure than they did two years ago.
In October 2018, JEI held another poll that revealed that Jewish voters prioritized security issues such as combating terrorism (82%), combating the influence of white supremacists and the far right (78%) and enacting gun safety laws (79%). The October poll surveyed 800 Jewish voters.
The new report provides unique insight into the community’s state of mind. “This poll confirms that the Jewish electorate prioritizes domestic policy issues above all others,” said Ralph Grunewald, chairman of the JEI Board. “It also affirms that the Jewish community feels less secure than before President Trump took office and is deeply concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in America in the past two years.”
The survey also queried Jewish voters’ opinions on Trump, with 71% holding an unfavorable view of his performance as president. 70% disapprove of Trump overall, while 71% disapprove of the way President Trump has handled anti-Semitism, which is a slight increase since the October poll (70%).
The majority of respondents believe President Trump has at least some responsibility for the shootings at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway. 38% have concerns that Trump is encouraging violent ultra-right extremists.
“This is a unique time where three quarters of Jewish voters feel less secure over the last two years because of new worries related to white nationalist violence, and nearly 60% say that President Donald Trump has at least some responsibility for the rise of anti-Semitic attacks,” said Stanley Greenberg, CEO and founder of Greenberg Research. “That has greatly affected the priorities of Jewish voters who strongly disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president. They want not only to protect retirement and health care, they want government that addresses the rise of anti-Semitism and white nationalist violence.”
The respondents to the survey also indicated that Israel was the lowest policy priority. A candidate’s stance on Israel ranked at the bottom of 16 policy priority issues for a second year in a row. JN