2012 Survey of American Jewish Opinion Highlights

2012 Survey of American Jewish Opinion - Press Release

2012 Survey of American Jewish Opinion - Survey Results

2012 Survey of American Jewish Opinion - Methodology

AJC Survey of American Jewish Opinion Highlights

April 30, 2012


Most American Jews Support President Obama; Support for Romney Stronger Among Jews Who Cite National Security and U.S.-Israel Relations Among Top Concerns

While 61 percent of Jews report that they would vote for Obama if the election were held today and Romney were the Republican candidate (28 percent would vote for Romney, 11 percent are undecided), support for Obama is lower among Jews who cite national security and U.S.-Israel relations among their top three priority issues in deciding their vote in the election.

Among those Jews who are focused on national security concerns or U.S.-Israel relations, only 42 percent would vote for Obama in an election against Romney. Of those who cite national security as a priority, 44 percent would vote for Romney; of those who cite U.S.-Israel relations, 45 percent would vote for Romney.

Presidential Vote by Issue Priority


Economy Is Top Issue in Election; American Jews Who Cite Domestic Issues Among Top Concerns Favor Obama

Eighty percent of American Jews cite the economy as one of the three most important issues in deciding their vote, and overall 57 percent approve of the way President Obama is handling that issue. Sixty-two percent of those voters who cite the economy as one of the three top issues prefer Obama to Romney.

Seventy-two percent of those American Jews who cite health care among their top three concerns (57 percent of the sample), and 67 percent of those who name social security among those concerns for the 2012 election (22 percent of the sample) would vote for Obama if the election were held today against Romney.

Jewish voters for whom energy security is one of the top concerns favor Obama over Romney by 70 percent to 17 percent.

Ninety percent of Jews who cite church-state issues among their top concerns would vote for Obama in an election against Romney.

Most Important Issues in Deciding Presidential Vote


Obama Gets High Marks and Netanyahu Even Higher on U.S.-Israel Relationship; Majority of American Jews Say Prospects for Arab-Israeli Peace Unchanged

58 percent of American Jews approve of the way President Obama is handling the U.S.-Israel relationship. Support for Prime Minister Netanyahu is even higher on this issue, with 70 percent of American Jews saying they have a favorable opinion of the way his government is handling the U.S.-Israel relationship.

More than one-third (37 percent) of American Jews believe that prospects for Arab-Israeli peace have decreased over the past year. Over half (55 percent) say prospects for peace today are about the same as they were a year ago, and just seven percent think prospects for peace have increased.

Nine in Ten American Jews Concerned About Iranian Nuclear Threat


The Iranian nuclear program concerns the vast majority of American Jews: 89 percent are very (56 percent) or somewhat (33 percent) concerned about it. Only 11 percent say they are not too concerned or not concerned at all.


Sixty-two percent of American Jews approve of the way President Obama is handling this issue, and 60 percent say the Democratic Party is more likely than the Republican Party to make the right decisions in dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.

Over half (56 percent) of American Jews believe it is unlikely that a combination of diplomacy and sanctions can stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of American Jews say that, if diplomacy and sanctions fail, they would support the U.S. taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Three-quarters (75 percent) would support Israel taking such action if diplomacy and sanctions fail.

Religious Practice A Factor in 2012 Election

Among American Jews who attend religious services one or more times per week (the “religiously active”), 52 percent say they would vote for Obama if the election were held today against Romney, considerably less than the 67 percent of those who never attend religious services who would vote for Obama.


Religiously Active Jews More Attached to Israel

Overall, 59 percent of American Jews have never been to Israel.

Nearly nine out of ten (87 percent) of those Jews who never attend religious services have never been to Israel, while only 26 percent of religiously active American Jews (those who attend services at least once a week) have not traveled to Israel.

71 percent of American Jews agree with the statement, "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew." Agreement with that statement is related closely to religious practice: 93 percent of religiously active Jews (those who attend services one or more times per week) agree that caring about Israel is an important part of being a Jew. Only 40 percent of those who never attend religious services agree with that statement.

Responses to this question also vary by age. Sixty-one percent of American Jews under age 30 believe caring about Israel is an important part of being a Jew, while 82 percent of those over age 60 agree.

Other Notable Findings

More American Jewish women (67 percent) than men (55 percent) would vote for Obama if the election were held today against Romney.

Large majorities of American Jews say the Democratic Party is more likely than the Republican Party to make the right decisions in dealing with church-state issues (75 percent) and the abortion issue (81 percent).

Overall, 69 percent of American Jews approve of the way President Obama is handling national security, and 60 percent believe that the Democratic Party is more likely than the Republican Party to make the right decisions on national security issues. However, among the 26 percent of Jews who cite national security as one of their top three issue priorities in the 2012 election, only 52 percent say the Republican Party is more likely to make the right decisions regarding national security.

Among survey respondents who say being Jewish is very or somewhat important in their own lives, 58 percent would vote for Obama if the 2012 election were held today against Romney, whereas among respondents who say being Jewish is not too important or not important at all, 66 percent would vote for Obama.
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