Blog 13: New Study Affirms Jewish Liberal Commitments

Steven Windmueller, Ph. D.

Posted on April 6, 2012 / 14 Nisan 5772

Written by Steven Windmueller, Ph. D.


A survey entitled, Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012 was released this week (April 3rd) by the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute. The results suggest that “a majority of American Jews are welcoming of immigrants, favorably disposed towards American Muslims, support legalizing same-sex marriage, favor legal abortions and oppose overturning the recent health care law.”

The economy represented the main issue for Jewish registered voters during this election year (51 percent), with all other issues trailing well behind. Fifteen percent cited the growing gap between rich and poor, 10 percent cited health care, 7 percent the federal deficit and only 4 percent listed Israel. As could be imagined, the significantly lower ranking for Israel evoked some interesting commentaries from Jewish leaders across the political spectrum.

Among the surprising findings was that fully 87 percent of Jews said the Holocaust was somewhat or very important in informing their political beliefs and activities… Some 85 percent said they were influenced also by the opportunities for economic success in America, 70 percent cited the immigrant experience and 66 percent cited the fact they are a religious minority here.”

An equal number (36%) of those surveyed expressed satisfaction with President Obama as those who indicated their dissatisfaction with the current administration; yet only 3% of all participants in the study indicated any excitement for this President.

Some 61 percent said they have very a favorable or mostly favorable view of President Barack Obama and 62 percent said they would like to see him re-elected — more than twice the number who support a Republican candidate (30 percent). Among those who indicated their intention to vote Republican, 58 percent endorsed Romney compared to 15 percent for Rick Santorum.

A total of 1,004 self-identified Jews age 18 and older participated in this online survey between Feb. 23 and March 5, with a sampling error of 5 percent. According to its authors and sponsors, this was the first major study of its size, comprehensiveness and scope conducted by a non-Jewish group.

The survey findings also reflected another characteristic found in the general American population — younger Americans are “likely to be less religiously affiliated.”

For a complete analysis of this study, see:

Social Justice Still Drives Jewish Agenda, Survey Notes | The Jewish Week

This is one of more than a dozen blogs focusing on the 2012 elections prepared by Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. (a faculty member of Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles campus) and now available both through the Jewish Journal and the Wind Report,

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