Majority of Jews still plan to back Obama over Republicans

By Jennifer Lipman, April 4, 2012
Republican Eric Cantor

Republican Eric Cantor

The Republican Party's attempts to woo American Jewish voters appear to have been less than successful despite growing dissatisfaction with the incumbent of the White House.

According to an independent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, there has been little change in support levels since 2008.

Despite claims by his opponents and in particular by the various presidential hopefuls that President Obama's stance on Israel is driving Jews away from the Democrats, nearly two thirds of Jewish voters prefer him to a Republican candidate.

Only 33 per cent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with President Obama's term in office, yet 86 per cent of those who voted for him four years ago plan to do the same in November.

The fact that 46 per cent admitted that they were "not excited" about backing Obama but planned to do so anyway suggests that his Republican rivals have a long way to go before capturing the Democrat Party's core.

In addition, only 38 per cent of those surveyed said they would be excited to back Mitt Romney if he gained his party's nomination, while only three per cent had a "very favourable" view of Mr Romney. Two fifths of voters said they deemed the Republican Party itself as "very unfavourable".

"The current state of the race suggests that this year's Jewish vote will resemble past elections," said Daniel Cox, PRRI research director.

David A Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, noted that the results proved "that the sweeping majority of American Jews are turned off by the Republican Party's agenda - especially on women's right to choose, taxation, repealing Obamacare, the environment, marriage equality, and the use of Sharia law as a political straw man.

"The data serves as a sharp counter to those in the [Grand Old Party] who predict that Romney will be their candidate to make inroads in the Jewish community."

He added: "The Democratic Party remains the natural political home for American Jews."

At present, there is just one Jewish Republican member of Congress; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Last year Mr Cantor argued that the reason Jews had historically chosen to back the Democrats was down to the fact that "the Republican Party wasn't really good at welcoming immigrants and saying we want to give you a helping hand."

Last updated: 2:56pm, April 4 2012