Taking the political temperature of our Jewish community

The polls have closed on GTJ’s political survey.

Actually, they closed a while ago, but I needed to set up my new apartment at law school.

But…  Better later than never, so here are the results:

………………….

Over 100 people took the survey.  I dropped the responses that did not belong to Jews between the ages 22 and 39, living in the DC area.   That left us with 86 responses.

1)      Jewish identification:

An Orthodox Jew.  12.8%

A Conservative (religiously) Jew.  29.1%

A Reform Jew.  30.2%

A secular Jew.  8.1%

 

According to Wikipedia (yes, I trust it), 46% of Jews belong to a synagogue.  Of those Jews, 38% are members of a Reform synagogue, 33% Conservative, 22% Orthodox, and 2% Reconstructionist.   Not too terribly different from our results.

2)      Party Identification:

A Democrat  66.3%

A Republican  17.4%

An Independent  16.3%

 

Additionally, three people wrote in, one wrote “Libertarian”, and two wrote “Conservative.”

According to the 2011 statistics of the Jewish Virtual Library, 16% of Jewish American voters identify as Republican, 45% Democrat, 38% Independent.

Our contingent seems to be a little more partisan.  Two thoughts for this:  1) This was a volunteer survey; people more passionate about politics were more likely to spend time taking it (example: I’m guessing Steve Davis did not take it), and people more passionate about politics are more likely to align with a party.  2) We’re in DC, a city where people tend to gravitate toward one party or the other (many people come to DC for partisan reasons!)

The only segment of Jews that tends to be consistently Republican is Orthodox Jews.

For information on the Jewish vote in past presidential elections, I refer you back to this article.

3)      Rank the following political issues in terms of importance to you (1 = Most important; 10 = Least important).

So this yielded quite the data table.  I’m not going to give you the standard deviations or anything fancy like that for the time being, but here’s the mean, median, and most-picked for each:

  • The Economy — Average = 2.42, Median = 2, Most popular = 1 (31 selections)
  • Jobs — Average = 3.76, Median = 3, Most popular = 2 (21)
  • Health Care — Average = 3.92, Median = 4, Most popular = 3 (18)
  • Israel — Average = 5.14, Median = 5, Most popular = 3 (13)
  • Taxation — Average = 5.66, Median = 5, Most popular = 5 (16)
  • Environment — Average = 5.98, Median = 6, Most popular = 9 (14)
  • Abortion — Average = 6.13, Median = 6, Most popular = 8 (14)
  • Gay Rights — Average = 7.00, Median = 7, Most popular = 10 (22)
  • Iraq/Afghanistan — Average = 7.31, Median = 7, Most popular = 8 (17)
  • Immigration — Average = 7.69, Median = 8, Most popular = 9 (19)

Clearly, whichever candidate can prove himself most capable on the economy is going to score major points with our community.  The average American feels pretty similarly.  Here’s this issue ranking from Rasmussen Reports (July, 2012):

Economy 74%
Health Care 67%
Gov’t Ethics and Corruption 64%
Taxes 55%
Energy Policy 44%
Education 55%
Social Security 60%
Immigration 47%
National Security/War on Terror 46%
Afghanistan 30%

 

4)      Rate President Obama on:  (1 = Super Awesome; 2 = Pretty good; 3 = He’s aiite; 4 = Not so great; 5 = Terrible)

  • Health Care — Average = 2.50, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (32)
  • Foreign Policy — Average = 2.70, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (40)
  • Israel — Average = 2.94, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (31)
  • The Economy — Average = 2.94, Median = 2, Most popular = 2 (39)
  • Immigration — Average = 2.98, Median = 3, Most popular = 2 (34)
  • Jobs — Average = 3.07, Median = 3, Most popular = 2 (31)

In summary, our community thinks President Obama is “pretty good.”  It’s perhaps not surprising then that:

5)      I will likely vote for:

Obama  69.8%

Romney  27.9%

I will likely not vote  2.3%

 

And yet, this is well below historical averages for Democratic Presidents.  President Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, and the Democrats have won, on average, 78.2% of the Jewish vote since the 1992 election.

 

Other fun info:

6)      Does Judaism influence your politics?

A lot  25.6%

A bit  47.7%

Not much  19.8%

Not at all  7.0%

 

7)      Will your vote be counted in the same/district state you currently live in?

 

My vote will be counted in the district/state I live in.  62.8%

My vote will be counted elsewhere (absentee).  37.2%

 

I was surprised by this.  I thought everyone in DC voted in another state…

About the survey:

This survey was not perfect.  But hopefully it was still interesting.  Our newsletter is sent to 4,000 people.  Of this group, 102 took the survey, and we used 86 responses.  All answer options were rotated for different users so as to avoid an ordering bias (people favoring answers that come earlier, etc.)

If you have any questions about the survey, or if you want more information about the survey, please email me (Stephen@gatherthejews.com)

Thanks for playing!

…………

Stephen Richer is the co-founder and President of Gather the Jews.