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Jewish voters support Biden – poll

Survey respondents say the US president is doing a good job on Israel and can tackle anti-Semitism

Jewish voters in the US overwhelmingly approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Gaza conflict and would support him over Donald Trump in a potential face-off at the ballot box next year, an opinion poll has shown. They also reject the idea that criticizing Israeli policies makes a person anti-Israel.

Views in the Jewish community were surveyed in early November by pollster GBAO Strategies and reported on Thursday by the Jewish Electorate Institute (JEI), a civic engagement advocacy body.

Most American Jews have historically been liberal-leaning supporters of the Democratic Party. The poll showed that 68% intend to vote for Biden, compared to 22% for Trump, who, however, has the backing of Orthodox Jews.

Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict was supported by 74% of the people surveyed, compared to 66% overall who approve of the president. A plurality of 43% said Biden’s approach to the crisis made them more positive towards him.

Almost six in ten said they trusted Biden to tackle anti-Semitism in the US, a problem that more than 90% of respondents called concerning. Jews, especially younger ones, were also worried about other forms of bigotry, such as racism and Islamophobia.

An overwhelming 91% said a person can be critical of the Israeli government but remain “pro-Israel”. A smaller majority of 76% expressed that view in relation to Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces besieged the Palestinian enclave in retaliation for a Hamas cross-border incursion last month, in which over 1,200 Israelis people were killed. Critics say Israel’s retaliatory military action has disproportionately killed Palestinian civilians. The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 11,000, according to local authorities.

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US Democratic voters are increasingly drawn to the Palestinian cause, according to a Quinnipiac University poll published on Thursday. Among all voters, the share of those more sympathetic to Israel than to Palestine dropped from 61% to 54% between mid-October and mid-November. Democrats sided with Palestinians at a 41-to-34 rate in the latest survey.

Some US media have suggested that Biden’s pro-Israel stance during the conflict may tip the scales at the ballot box next year. In 2020, he wrestled Michigan from Trump by a margin of 154,000 votes. The state’s Muslim American population of over 200,000 registered voters helped clinch the win, but may stay home in their likely rematch, NPR warned on Friday. Biden’s approval rating among Arab Americans has plunged from 59% in 2020 to 35% before the crisis, and was down to half of that by late October, according to a poll released by the Arab American Institute last month.


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