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Obama Winning Over the Jewish Vote

Obama Winning Over the Jewish Vote

Three-quarters of U.S. Jewish voters now plan to back Obama for president

PRINCETON, NJ -- Jewish voters nationwide have grown increasingly comfortable with voting for Barack Obama for president since the Illinois senator secured the Democratic nomination in June. They now favor Obama over John McCain by more than 3 to 1, 74% to 22%.


This is based on monthly averages of Gallup Poll Daily tracking results, including interviews with more than 500 Jewish registered voters each month.

Support for Obama among all registered voters was fairly stable from June through September, but then rose sharply in October -- in apparent reaction to the U.S. economic crisis. By contrast, support for Obama among Jewish voters has expanded more gradually, from the low 60% range in June and July to 66% in August, 69% in September, and 74% today.


The current proportion of U.S. Jews backing Obama is identical to the level of support the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards received in the 2004 presidential election (74%). It is only slightly lower than what Al Gore and Joe Lieberman received in 2000 (80%) -- when the first Jewish American appeared on the presidential ticket of a major party.

Recent support for Obama is a bit higher among older Jews than among Jews younger than 55. According to combined Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from Sept. 1 through Oct. 21, an average of 74% of Jews aged 55 and older supported Obama for president across this period, compared with about two-thirds of younger Jews.


The slightly more pro-McCain orientation of the youngest category of Jewish voters (those 18 to 34) could be related to the fact that they are more apt than older Jewish voters to consider themselves political conservatives (29% vs. 16%). However, ideology does not appear to explain the gap between middle-aged and older Jewish voters. Whereas those 35 to 54 are more likely to support McCain, they are no more likely than older Jewish voters to describe their political views as conservative.


There is little difference among Jewish voters by age in their basic party identification. Between 55% and 57% of all three age groups are Democratic, 28% to 30% are independent, and only 13% to 17% are Republican.

Bottom Line

The Obama/Biden ticket is poised to perform about on par with other recent Democratic presidential tickets when it comes to support from American Jewish voters.

Survey Methods

The monthly averages of Gallup Poll Daily tracking reported here span from June 1, 2008, through Oct. 21, 2008. Monthly results based on all registered voters are generally based on more than 23,000 interviews conducted in each full month, and 19,400 interviews conducted in the partial month of October. For results based on samples of this size, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage points.

The monthly results of Jewish registered voters are generally based on more than 650 interviews conducted in each full month, and 564 interviews conducted in the partial month of October. The exact sample sizes and associated margins of sampling error for each month's results are detailed in the accompanying table.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


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