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Most US Jews oppose Trump but the Orthodox stick with him

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens at left as President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

(RNS) — A new survey of U.S. Jews offers a breakdown of the Jewish vote in favor of President Trump and suggests those divisions — among the major streams of Judaism — remain fairly constant nine months later.

Though the majority of Jews did not vote for Trump, exit polls showed, those who identify as Orthodox were the most supportive of Trump on Election Day and continue to give him high marks.

Fifty-four percent of Orthodox Jews say they voted for Trump, according a new survey by the American Jewish Committee, or AJC. That was well above 24 percent of Conservative Jews, 10 percent of Reform Jews, 8 percent of Reconstructionist Jews and 14 percent of respondents who identify themselves as “just Jewish.”

Conversely, Hillary Clinton garnered 13 percent of the Orthodox vote, 60 percent of the Conservative Jewish vote, 78 percent of the Reform vote and 89 percent of the Reconstructionist vote.

The survey also shows that when it comes to politics, American Jews don’t differ much from the rest of the American public: Those who voted for Trump still support him; the far larger contingent that opposed him still opposes him.

The poll found that overall 77 percent of respondents had an “unfavorable” view of the president, while 21 percent had a “favorable” view of the way he is governing. One percent said they were “not sure.”

That suggests a wide and growing polarization between Orthodox Jews, who comprise a minority of the U.S. Jewish population and tend to skew conservative, and the far larger Reform and Conservative movements — as well as the small but influential Reconstructionist movement — that comprise the majority of U.S. Jews and skew liberal.

 

 

Just about the only issue on which the two groups appear united is their belief that anti-Semitism is growing.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said anti-Semitism is a problem, and 41 percent said it is a “very serious” problem, up from the 2016 survey in which 73 percent considered it a problem and only 21 percent viewed it as a “very serious” problem.

 

In the 2016 election, 71 percent of Jews voted for Democrat Clinton and 24 percent voted for Republican Trump, according to exit polls. In the AJC poll, 64 percent said they voted for Clinton and 18 said they voted Trump.

Support for Trump among Orthodox Jews on Election Day does not seem to have waned, according to the AJC poll, even after Trump infuriated many American Jews with his response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month: 71 percent of Orthodox respondents viewed Trump’s performance favorably.

Among non-Orthodox Jews, those numbers were nearly reversed: 73 percent of Conservative Jews, 88 percent of Reform Jews and 92 percent of Reconstructionist Jews view Trump’s performance unfavorably.

“Attitudes towards the president, both pro and con, have remained largely static since Election Day, and within the Jewish community the discrepancy between the Orthodox and other Jewish denominations on most questions is pronounced,” said David Harris, CEO of the AJC.

The annual survey of 1,000 respondents, conducted Aug. 10-28, has been a regular feature of the AJC’s work for decades. The most recent poll was conducted by the research firm SSRS and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

“It’s almost two Jewish universes living within the boundaries of the United States with two very different worldviews,” said Harris.

“I think it’s very striking and insofar as the demographic trend in the United States is toward a large Orthodox population, this is something for American Jews and American Jewish organizations to be giving much more thought to. Organizations, including our own, the AJC, need to come to terms with the meaning of that big split.”

About the author

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is an RNS National Reporter and Senior Editor.

24 Comments

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  • Most Jews voted against Trump because Trump made it clear that he has little respect for our American traditions regarding religious liberty, rights of conscience, and church-state separation. It is puzzling why more of the Orthodox community support him. Then again, not so puzzling when one notes that is some Orthodox communities in New York their control of some local school boards allows these folks to demean the local public schools that mainly serve black kids.

  • He has little respect for any particular group. He believes that the end justifies the means used. He is a true Capitalist who justifies everything by profit. His attitude towards women is brutal, unfeeling, and certainly disrespectful. I live near a large Orthodox community and while many if not most a good people their life style and their use of resources is way out of proportion to the needs and concerns of the rest of our county. We cannot bus a population of children who out number ours 4 to 1 and not go bankrupt. We cannot put the burden on a family who is non Orthodox who has three children to educate and pay for an Orthodox family who has eight to ten children. Messianic Jews like Messianic Christians could care less about the future, we on the other hand cannot simply wait for a future that is at best uncertain.

  • That could be because among both Christians and Jews, Messianic Jews are considered a type of Christianity, not a type of Judaism, based on the fact that they see Jesus as the Messiah, their personal savior, etc.

  • Wow! Jesus (actually known as Yeshua) was a Jew as were the Apostles. His story happened in israel. If He was not the Messiah to the Jews He could not have been the Savior of the nations (The Gentiles). The Jewish Apostles had to vote on whether the Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit. Not sure how that worked out. The last revival amongst the Jewish people, helped by Gentiles who know the Bible (Romans 11), will bring to the world revival it has never seen and then Messiah will return. Yeshua is our personal and corporate Passover lamb, communion comes from the 3rd cup of wine during a Passover Seder (The Last Supper). So, it’s not Christians and Jews who determine who is a Jew. It’s Adonai (The Lord) who does. Therefore, we belong in the survey. Kapich?

  • Is it a constant battle to recoup the costs of these resources? I’ve watched several documentaries on orthodox communities all over the country out of pure fascination and curiosity and strain on resources seems to be a common theme.

  • Dennis Prager and Mark Levin are two prominent educated Jews that support Trump. They represent my world view. Trump has a genuine love and appreciation of the Jews, his favorite daughter converted to Judaism, his grandkids are Jewish, he’s passionately supported the state of Israel. I’m baffled why that love is not reciprocated. Similarly with Ted Cruz; that man loves Jews and they don’t love him back. My best attempt at understanding is many Jews have deep ties to the political left that they can’t easily let go and Trump is so intensely reviled in that crowd.

  • Trump is absolutely a friend to Jews around the world. Jewish ideological leaders like Dennis Prager and Mark Levin recognize this.

  • maybe your kind of Jews. Sheldon Adelson has duel citizenship. He loves Trump. Most Jews I know and read about are appalled. Racism is so close to anti-Semitism. We see that in Charlottesville. And the Southern Poverty Law Center says there’s a huge uptick in racist and anti-Semitic attacks.
    Time to wake up.

  • Today, the political left and right both think that the other side is either crazy or just horrible people.

    If I were to name the most revolting, racist, horrific, hate group on this Earth, SPLC would be at the top of my list, just behind actual terror groups like ISIL.

    Most anti-semitic hate is from the political left. Linda Sarsour or even Jeremy Corbyn are far more anti-semitic than anything from the white nationalists at Charlottesville and they have been promoted to leadership in the left.

    It’s not just Trump, most Jews are horrified by Steve Bannon or Ted Cruz, who both have such genuine love for Jewish people.

  • Jeremy Corbyn is in the UK. I’m not a fan. I don’t know Linda Sarsour. “political left” is a broad term now, with some extremist whackos on the Left–quite despicable. But they are few. Decent leftists get accused of being them.

    Jews are horrified by Steve Bannon because they are both rightwing Christian extremists, who want the USA to be a Christian Nation, aka the USA as a theocracy. SPLC calls out these extremists.
    Cruz is a dominionist, a Christian reconstructionists. These idiots want all Jews to be converted to Christianity, or in 500 years ago either convert or be killed. Despicable.

  • Linda Sarsour is a senior prominent figure of the 2017 US left. She is co-chair of the “Women’s March”, Politico called her “the face of the resistance” to Trump, the Obama White House formally recognized Sarsour as a “champion of change”, “Sarsour spoke as a surrogate for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign.” The US left can’t be accountable for every single person in the ranks, but the top leadership should be held to some standards of ethics.

  • wiki
    …”Sarsour maintained that she had nothing to apologize for, saying that questions existed about the integrity of Odeh’s conviction, that her beliefs had been misrepresented, and that criticism of Israeli policies was being conflated with anti-Semitism.
    She ascribed the critical reaction to her speech to her prominent role as an organizer for the 2017 Women’s March.[9][30] The university chancellor, the dean of the college, and a group of professors defended her right to speak, as did some Jewish groups,[9][30] including Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.[36] Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Jewish civil-rights group the Anti-Defamation League, defended Sarsour’s First Amendment right to speak despite opposing her views on Israel.[37][38] A rally in support of Sarsour took place in front of New York’s City Hall. Constitutional scholar Fred Smith Jr. tied the controversy to broader disputes over freedom of speech in America.[9]

    The controversy may have been intensified by an exchange between Sarsour and a Dartmouth College student activist that was widely circulated on social media. The student had questioned Sarsour about a controversial, deleted tweet referring to Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Brigitte Gabriel, leader of the lobbying group ACT! for America. Conservative media outlets emphasized the fact that Sarsour objected to a “white man” raising such a question at the event, which was held to honor Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.[34]”

    The tweet, in which Sarsour wrote of Ali and Gabriel, “I wish I could take their vaginas away”, was circulated by Sarsour’s critics as apparent proof of her intolerant views.[34] Sarsour had debated both women on radio or television; she said that the dispute centered on Ali’s and Gabriel’s promotion of the idea that Islam is a misogynistic religion.[39] In response, Ali called Sarsour a “fake feminist” and a “defender of sharia law”,[4][40] and the New York Times columnist Bari Weiss criticized Sarsour for making “common cause with anti-feminists”.[41][42][43]”

    I’m more a fan of Hirsi Ali than what I see here of Sarsour, however the conservative attacks of her are out of line. I dislike the notion that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-Semitic.

    Currently reading The Atheist Muslim by Ali Rivsi.

  • Much of the American left criticizes Israel and the overwhelming majority aren’t anti-semitic. Even Jews like Jon Stewart criticize Israel who absolutely aren’t anti-semitic. Sarsour is way more extreme than that. Read any of the articles about her on nationalreview.com, for example. She supports actual terrorists, she claims to support “jihad” against our president. That is over the top.

    You like ayaan hirsi ali? She is the complete political opposite of Sarsour and SPLC. She is listed by the SPLC as an “Anti-Muslim Extremist” and Sarsour tweeted offensive things about her.

  • Messianic Jews in my opinion–are no longer Jews. If they accept the Christian concept of the Trinity–then they are no longer monotheistic. Judaism is strict monotheism–period. Messianics have been taken advantage of. It doesn’t matter if you wear a talles if you are no longer monotheistic.

  • David you don’t know what you are talking about. Regardless of what Christians believe–THEY DO NOT DICTATE WHO IS A JEW. Furthermore the Jewish concept of a messiah is NOT a deity figure. GO LEARN TORAH. BETTER YET TAKE YOUR PROSELYTIZING ELSEWHERE.

  • Gacl you are seriously stupid. Trump IS A NAZI. PERIOD. TRUMP HAS NAZIS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WAKE YOU UP? News flash–dreaming about Israel DID NOT KEEP THR NAZIS FROM MURDERING 6 MILLION OF OUR PEOPLE.

  • Trump is a great, noble, honorable man, he’s kind to Israel, he has the support of many prominent Jews such as Prager and Levin, he has the majority support of the Orthodox community, and support from Netanyahu.

  • Trump is nearing the end of his first year. What’s the worst thing he’s done? He surely hasn’t killed Jews or even advanced anti-Jewish policy. He’s actually been quite nice to Jews. We should like him.

  • I am certainly not Orthodox. I am Jewish immigrant that is not even religious, but I completely support Trump. Not just because Obama’s antisemitism was on display for 8 yrs, and not just his buddies like Sharpton, and Farakkhan. Not just the tax dollars he spent messing around with Israel’s elections, as he tried to destroy that country.
    President Trump is absolutely correct about Muslim refugee crisis. I have seen the changes in Europe, and they are pretty bad. Yes, they pretty much do have no go zones, even if they are not official. And how do you dismiss the 500 German women gang raped by thousands of Muslim refugees in Cologne last New Years? As a woman, this terrifies me. Muslim immigration also goes hand in hand with antisemitism. The Synagogue bombed in Norway a week ago serves as a good example. Statistics back it up. But most importantly, Trump is good for America. We can not afford more immigrants, and I don’t care that I was once such an immigrant myself. That argument makes less sense then sayin abortion should be illegal, because I used to be an embryo! So what. That was then. This is now, and we can not afford it. And all of the examples of how immigration is actually positive are garbage. If it were true, then we can simply allow some other country to take this great gift. Everyone wants them right? Hardly. We need to get out of agreements that are made to appease other countries, and we need to expose the corruption in the UN, the EU, in the FBI, gthe DOJ, in Washington and everywhere else avowed globalists spread their nasty conspiracy.

  • The Orthodox see Trump as a defender of Israel. period. The rest of the Jews are concerned with the US as well as Israel.

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