Jews are biggest backers of Obama’s performance (UPDATED WITH RJC RESPONSE)


American Jews give President Obama a 64 percent job approval rating in a new Gallup poll, significantly higher than any of the other religious groups surveyed and the national average of 52 percent.

The 64 percent number is a decline from 83 percent approval in a January poll, but Gallup says this is in line with the overall national decline in Obama’s popularity and not anything unique to the Jewish community:

Importantly, the decline in approval of Obama among Jews since January is no greater than that seen among the general public. This suggests that since Obama became president, his actions on Middle East policy issues — particularly relating to Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute — have not had a disproportionately negative (or positive) impact on his image among U.S. Jews.

Between January and September, Obama’s average monthly approval rating fell by 14 percentage points among all Americans and by 19 points among Jews. Both shifts represent about a 20% decline in approval from January.

Compared to other religious groups, Obama was considerably more popular among Jews — no doubt due in part to the fact that Gallup found 66 percent of those Jews surveyed to be Democrats compared to just 27 percent who identified as Republicans. Obama had job approval ratings of 54 percent among Catholics, 47 percent among Protestants and just 32 percent for Mormons. Those who identified as atheists or agnostics, or said they had no religious affiliation, were slightly higher at 65 percent.

NJDC president David Harris said the numbers "gives the lie to the myth that the president’s support in the Jewish community is waning" and demonstrate that "there is no loss of support for this president due to his committment to pursuing peace and security" for Israel.

Although the poll does not explain the reasons why those 19 percent of Jews no longer approve of Obama’s performance, the fact that his decline in Jewish support is similar to the president’s drop among all Americans show that "American Jews are just that — Americans" and mirror the feelings of the country as a whole, Harris said.

UPDATE: Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks says he’s surprised that the NJDC could be so upbeat when Obama is "hemorrhaging support across the board."

"I don’t think it’s a reason to celebrate," said Brooks. "Usually Jews are the last to go" in supporting a Democratic president, he said, but "they’re losing Jews as fast as they’re losing everybody else."

The Gallup poll of 379 Jews was conducted throughout the month of September, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percent.

After the jump, NJDC’s statement on the results, and RJC’s response:[[READMORE]]

David A. Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), released the following statement:

In recent weeks, we’ve seen Republican talking heads reaching to suggest that Jewish support for President Barack Obama is waning. Now we see the truth from Gallup, the polling firm that correctly predicted the trend line late in the 2008 election resulting in then-Senator Obama receiving 78 percent of the American Jewish vote. As Gallup concludes, “President Obama enjoys staunch support from U.S. Jews…” This confirms what Gallup found during the 2008 presidential election campaign, when Jews overwhelmingly indicated they were voting for Obama over John McCain.” Importantly, Gallup also finds that their poll “…suggests that since Obama became president, his actions on Middle East policy issues – particularly relating to Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute – have not had a disproportionately negative (or positive) impact on his image among U.S. Jews.”

Gallup’s rigorous scientific findings demonstrate clearly once and for all what we’ve  known to be true for some time: Obama was elected with overwhelming support from American Jews, and he continues to enjoy overwhelming and strong support from American Jews.

And RJC’s statement:

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matthew Brooks released the following statement today:
The Gallup poll released earlier today is an extremely thorough survey of Jewish voters across the country. The results of the poll reinforce what we and others have been saying for some time, that many in the Jewish community are experiencing "buyer’s remorse" with regard to their support for President Obama.
Support for President Obama among Jewish voters is eroding at an significant rate. Since January, Obama’s approval rating has collapsed from 83% to 64%, a 23% decline in support, with the trend line indicating a clear downward trajectory.
Contrary to what Democratic spinmeisters would have you believe, there really can be no silver lining in these results to give comfort or joy to Democrats.

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