AJC 2007 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion

December 11, 2007 – New York – In the upcoming presidential race, Hillary Clinton has the highest favorability rating among Jewish Democrats, and Rudolph Giuliani the highest favorability rating among Jewish Republicans, according to the American Jewish Committee’s 2007 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion.

Seventy percent of Jewish Democrats have a favorable opinion of Clinton, 48 percent of John Edwards, and 45 percent of Barack Obama. As against this, 75 percent of Jewish Republicans have a favorable opinion of Giuliani, followed by John McCain (49 percent), Mitt Romney (32 percent), and Fred Thompson (32 percent).

Asked about the “most important problem facing the United States today,” 22 percent of American Jews cite “economy and jobs”; 19 percent “health care”; 16 percent “war in Iraq”; 15 percent “terrorism and national security”; 8 percent “education”, 8 percent “immigration”; and 7 percent “energy crisis”.

AJC’s Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, conducted on a yearly basis since 1997, gauges the views of American Jews on a broad range of issues, including the Arab-Israeli conflict and other Middle East concerns, international terrorism, perceptions of anti-Semitism, social and political issues in the U.S. and Jewish identity matters.

The Arab-Israeli peace process comes in for focused attention in a number of questions.

Fifty-five percent of American Jews are skeptical that “there will come a time when “Israel and its Arab neighbors will be able to settle their differences and live in peace,” while 37 percent think such a development will come about.

In near identical fashion, 55 percent of American Jews lack confidence that “negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas can lead to peace in the foreseeable future,” and 36 percent are more hopeful.

Further, 74 percent of American Jews assert that Israel “cannot…achieve peace with a Hamas-led Palestinian government,” while 17 percent say they can.

On specific policy issues related to the Middle East, 46 percent of American Jews favor the establishment of a Palestinian state, while 43 percent are opposed. Fifty-eight percent of American Jews reject a call that Israel “compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction,” but 36 percent endorse this view.

On Iraq, 27 percent of American Jews believe that the United States did the “right thing” in taking military action against Iraq, while 67 percent believe the U.S. should have stayed out.

Fifty-nine percent of American Jews disapprove, and 31 percent approve, of the way the U.S. government is handling the campaign against terrorism.

Regarding Iran’s nuclear program, 92 percent of American Jews are concerned about the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Still, a majority--57 percent-- oppose U.S. military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Energy
Virtually all of American Jews – 99 percent – believe it important for the United States to achieve energy independence. As to the best way for the United States to handle its energy needs, 69 percent of American Jews favor developing alternative energy sources, 11 percent favor greater energy conservation, 7 percent favor greater energy production, while 11 percent support all three options.

Anti-Semitism
Twenty-seven percent of American Jews view anti-Semitism in the United States today as a “very serious problem,” 60 percent call it “somewhat of a problem,” and 12 percent see it as “not a problem at all.”

Looking ahead over the next several years, 55 percent of American Jews believe that anti-Semitism around the world will increase, 36 percent that it will remain the same, and 6 percent that it will decrease.

Jewish Identity
Asked, “How important would you say being Jewish is in your own life,” 61 percent of American Jews answer “very important,” 29 percent “fairly important,” and 10 percent “not very important.”

Seventy percent of American Jews feel “very close” or “fairly close” to Israel, while 29 percent feel “fairly distant” or “very distant”. Along the same lines, 69 percent of American Jews “agree” with the statement, “Caring about Israel is a very important part of being a Jew;” 28 percent “disagree.”

The 2007 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion was carried out for the American Jewish Committee by Synovate (formerly Market Facts), a leading survey-research organization. The sample consists of 1,000 self-identifying Jewish respondents selected from the Synovate consumer mail panel. The respondents, interviewed by telephone between November 6 and 25, are representative of the United States adult Jewish population on a variety of measures. The margin of error for the sample as a whole is plus or minus three percentage points.

The complete AJC survey is available at www.ajc.org.
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