The data, taken from a nationwide poll conducted in early September, indicates that Jews as a group are 30 percent more likely than other white, non-Hispanic voters to support Obama.
Surprisingly, the poll found that gap widened to nearly 40% among Jews who rank Israel “very high” as a factor in their choice of candidate, indicating that Israel is a key issue for Jews across the political spectrum.
“Jews always look at candidates in their own camp as more sympathetic to their positions as Jews, so liberal Jews will tend to feel Obama is more pro-Israel than conservative Jews do,” lead researcher Steven Cohen, a professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College, told The Jerusalem Post.
“In fact, liberal Jews have an argument about why McCain is bad for Israel, just as conservative Jews have an argument for why Obama is bad for Israel,” he said. “There’s a tendency toward cognitive consistency.”
Nonetheless, support for McCain tracked support for Israel, with 58% of Jews who said Israel was very important favoring McCain.
Orthodox Jews – a category that encompasses Modern Orthodox and haredi respondents, Cohen said – were the likeliest to support McCain, with 73% indicating support for the Republican over just 27% for Obama.
Support for McCain was highest – 90% – among Orthodox Jews who said they socialized exclusively with other Jews, while only 60% of Orthodox respondents who said they had non-Jewish friends planned to vote for McCain.