June 2, 2021 — New York
More than four months after President Biden’s inauguration, majorities of American Jews give him high marks for his performance as president, and his handling of U.S-Israel relations and the threat of antisemitism, according to a new national survey by the nonpartisan American Jewish Committee (AJC).
As with previous AJC surveys of U.S. Jews, there are clear divisions of opinion between self-identified Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews.
The questions on U.S. political issues, U.S-Israel relations, and the peace process are part of a larger survey that will be released later this month.
In the 2020 elections, 68% of the Jewish electorate report they voted for Biden, 21% for Trump, 4% for another candidate, and 5% did not vote. According to the new AJC survey, 12% of Orthodox, 61% of Conservative, 80% of Reform, 99% of Reconstructionist, 86% of Secular, and 71% of non-specified denomination voted for Biden. Distinctions between Orthodox and non-Orthodox views of how President Biden is handling a number of issues are consistent.
70 percent of American Jews approve and 26% disapprove of the job President Biden is doing as president. He has approval from 19% of Orthodox, 65% of Conservative, 80% of Reform, 99% of Reconstructionist, 85% of Secular, and 72% of those who have no specified denomination.
On President Biden’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations, 58% approve and 27% disapprove. One in five (19%) strongly approve, 39% somewhat approve, 11% disapprove somewhat, and 16% disapprove strongly. Another 15% had no opinion. By denomination, those who approve are 21% of Orthodox, 47% of Conservative, 68% of Reform, 95% of Reconstructionist, 68% of secular, and 59% of no specified denomination.
On the threat of antisemitism, 64% approve and 23% disapprove of the president’s handling of this issue. Only 35% of Orthodox approve, in contrast to 53% of Conservative, 70% of Reform, 96% of Reconstructionist, 74% of Secular, and 70% of no specified denominations.
The president received majority approvals on a range of other issues:
--The Economy – 71% approve and 27% disapprove.
-- The Iranian Nuclear Issue – 55% approve and 32% disapprove.
-- Immigration – 54% approve and 42% disapprove.
-- Race Relations – 68% approve and 28% disapprove.
-- The COVID-19 Pandemic – 79% approve and 19% disapprove.
Three-quarters of American Jews describe the current U.S.-Israel relationship as very strong (20%) or fairly strong (56%), while one in five say it is fairly weak (16%) or very weak (4%). There is unanimity across all denominations about the strength of bilateral relations – 70% of Orthodox, 74% of Conservative, 84% of Reform, 91% of Reconstructionist, 77% of Secular, and 73% of no specified denomination.
On Israel’s relationships with other countries in the region, one-third (33%) say they feel more optimistic than they were one year ago about peace between Israel and individual Arab countries. One in five (20%) say they are less optimistic about peace, while 46% say there has not been much change.
When asked about their optimism regarding peace between Israel and the Palestinians, 60% say there has not been much change in their feelings compared to one year ago, 25% state they are less optimistic and 14% are more optimistic. Results in AJC’s 2020 survey were similar – 55% said their views have not changed much about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, while 28% said less optimistic, and 16% more optimistic compared to one year ago.
The AJC survey, conducted by the research company SSRS, is based on telephone interviews carried out March 25 - May 9, 2021, with a national sample of 1,000 respondents aged 18 or older. The margin of error for total sample is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
AJC has been conducting annual surveys of American Jewish attitudes for many years. To view this portion of the 2021 survey, visit AJC.org/news/survey2021/US. View the 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 AJC surveys of American Jews.