Poll: Clinton crushing Trump among Florida Jews; Orthodox for Trump 2-1


NEW YORK (JTA) — The vast majority of Florida Jews will vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the presidential election, according to a new poll.

Orthodox Jews were the only Florida Jewish demographic to support Trump.

The poll, conducted by GBA Strategies, found Clinton was beating Trump among Florida Jews, 66 percent to 23 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein earned 6 and 2 percent of the state’s Jewish vote, respectively.

Jews make up 4 to 5 percent of the overall Florida electorate. Clinton is leading Trump by a few points in Florida polls.

Clinton beat Trump in almost every Florida Jewish demographic. Reform, unaffiliated and Conservative Jews all favored the Democrat, as did Jews of every age group. Among the Orthodox, however, Trump was the choice, 66 to 22 percent. Forty-two percent of Florida Jews identify as Reform, while 24 percent identify as Conservative, 19 percent as unaffiliated and 6 percent as Orthodox.

“The only problem Hillary Clinton has with Jewish voters is the same problem Barack Obama had with Jewish voters, and that is there are not more of them,” said Jim Gerstein, a founding partner of GBA Strategies, in a Friday conference call about the poll.

The poll was commissioned by the Schlep Labs PAC, which grew out of efforts to boost Jewish votes for Obama in 2008 and 2012. The findings were released in Washington, D.C., at a briefing conducted by Alex Soros, who chairs the liberal Jewish social action group Bend the Arc; its chief executive officer, Stosh Cotler, and Jeremy Ben Ami, head of J Street, the dovish Israel lobby. Gerstein is a founder of J Street.

In 2012, Obama won the Florida Jewish vote, 68 to 31 percent.

The poll, which was conducted Aug. 4-8 among 500 likely Jewish voters and had a 4.4 percent margin of error, also found that Israel is a low priority for Jewish voters. Only 8 percent of Jewish Florida voters said Israel was one of their top two election issues, compared to 35 percent who chose the economy and 29 percent who indicated terrorism.

“Israel is not the defining issue for the American Jewish voter,” Ben-Ami said on the conference call. “The Jewish electorate is not going to be moved or swayed by hawkish, uncritical rhetoric related to Israel.”

The poll found that most Florida Jews supported last year’s agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. Fifty-one percent of Florida Jews supported the deal, while 39 percent opposed it. In addition, only 2 percent said they were casting their vote in the November election based on policy toward Iran.

Jewish voters in Florida have drawn attention ever since the 2000 election, where a confusing ballot led a large number of voters in heavily Jewish Palm Beach County to vote for Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate often accused of anti-Semitism. George W. Bush carried the state by 537 votes, which won him the election. He won the state again in 2004.

In 2008, comedian Sarah Silverman led “The Great Schlep” initiative, which urged young Jews to travel to Florida to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama. Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012.

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