Poll: Biden bests Trump with Jewish voters on every issue but may have lost ground overall

The survey asked Jewish voters who they trusted more on a number of issues; they chose Biden on all topics, including U.S.-Israel relations. Even so, the former vice president may be slipping compared to past Democratic presidential candidates.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (RNS) — A new poll of Jewish voters shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden outshining Donald Trump with the group on every issue, with a majority believing American Jews would be less safe if Trump wins reelection.

But if Biden intends to reach the same level of support with the group enjoyed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, he may have some catching up to do.

The national survey was released on Monday (Sept. 14) by the Jewish Electorate Institute, which is affiliated with the Jewish Democratic Council of America. The survey was conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group.

The survey asked Jewish voters in early September who they trusted more on a number of issues. Biden was listed as more trusted on all topics, which included climate change (68% Biden vs. 17% Trump), anti-Semitism and white nationalism (60% vs. 26%), national security (60% vs. 32%), security of the Jewish community (55% vs. 29%), and U.S.-Israel relations (46% vs. 32%).

When asked to rate which issues were most important to them when choosing a candidate to support, 92% of surveyed Jewish voters said the economy was one of the most important issues or very important. The overwhelming majority also said the same about coronavirus response (90%), anti-Semitism (82%), and police brutality (77%). While most said Israel was an important issue (64%), it ranked last among the major issues listed.

While Biden seems to be heavily leading Trump with the group, which has leaned Democratic for some time, the former vice president may be slipping compared to past presidential elections. Overall, 67% of Jewish voters polled said they plan to vote for Biden, while 30% said they plan to vote for Trump and 3% were still undecided.

By contrast, a Pew Research Center analysis of 2016 exit polls found that Hillary Clinton won 71% of the group that year, with Trump claiming just 24%. In 2012, Barack Obama won 69% of the group, with his Republican rival Mitt Romney claiming 30%.

Still, the poll suggests Trump has significant weaknesses among Jewish voters. For example, majorities of those surveyed said that they believed Trump deserves the greatest blame for the spread of coronavirus (54%) and that Jews will become less safe if Trump is reelected (56%).

The poll was conducted from September 2 to 7, 2020, with a sample size of 810 and a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

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