The latest survey of Jewish Americans, conducted March 14-27 by a firm called Knowledge Networks for the American Jewish Committee, shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by a 61%-28% margin. That’s significantly behind Obama’s 78%-21% margin over John McCain among Jewish voters in the 2008 exit poll. But it’s an improvement for Obama over a poll conducted in September 2011 for the AJC in which he led Romney 50%-32%, which I mentioned in an April 3 Beltway Confidential blogpost.
Obama gets 72% of the votes of those most concerned with the health care issue, according to the current AJC survey, and 62% among those most concerned about the economy. But Romney leads Obama among those Jews whose major concern was national security issues (44%-42%) and U.S.-Israel relations (44%-42%). Clearly Obama is losing some Jewish voters on foreign policy issues.
According to the 2008 exit poll, Jews made up 2% of the national electorate, with higher numbers in New Jersey (7%), Massachusetts (5%), Connecticut (5%), Pennsylvania (4%), Florida (4%), California (4%), Maryland (3%), Illinois (3%) and New York (3%). That New York percentage seems clearly low; in the 2004 exit poll it was 8%, the highest of any state. No Jewish percentage was shown for the District of Columbia, but the exit pollster (who apparently has a sense of humor) did reveal that 2% of D.C. voters were white evangelical Protestants.