Poll: Clinton trouncing Trump among Jews: Eight percent say they won’t vote in November

Hillary Clinton trounces Donald Trump among Jewish voters, but underperforms compared with her Democratic predecessors, according to an American Jewish Committee poll.

The poll, released Sept. 13, also depicts a community disenchanted with politics and anxious about the country’s future.

Regarding the presidential election, the poll shows Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, defeating Trump 61 percent to 19 percent among Jewish voters. She outperforms Trump on a range of issues, notably including national security, an area where the Republican nominee hopes to hammer his Democratic rival.

Respondents said Clinton would be better than Trump on terrorism (58 to 22 percent), more likely to unite the country (55 to 11 percent), more likely to promote U.S.-Israel relations (57 to 22 percent) and better dealing with Iran (58 to 19 percent).

Hillary Clinton during a Sept. 5 campaign stop in Moline, Illinois photo/jta-afp-getty images-brendan smialowski

Trump has alienated much of the GOP’s traditional Jewish support, in part because of his broadsides against minorities, but also because of an insular foreign policy. He has flirted with notions of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of making Israel pay for the defense assistance it receives from the United States.

Still, Clinton, at least for now, is underperforming with Jewish voters compared with her Democratic predecessors, including President Barack Obama, who scored 69 percent in 2012 and 74-78 percent in 2008; John Kerry at 76 percent in 2004; Al Gore with 79 percent in 2000; and her husband, Bill Clinton, with 78 percent in 1996 and 80 percent in 1992.

A substantial chunk — 17 percent — of the AJC’s respondents do not back either candidate, with 6 percent opting for Libertarian Gary Johnson, 3 percent backing Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and 8 percent saying they will not vote.

Pessimism and exasperation with politics seemed to undergird the polling. More respondents, 39 percent, said American children would be worse off than their parents than the 29 percent who said they would be better off. Those who said they would be the same were at 27 percent.

Asked how much confidence they had in Congress, 60 percent said they had very little or none.

As in past surveys, jobs and the economy remained among the top issues voters said they would bring with them into the voting booth, with 29 percent saying it was the most important issue and 22 percent saying it was the second most important issue. Next was terrorism and national security, scoring 16 percent among those who said it was the top issue, and 15 percent among those who said it was second most important.

Asked about anti-Semitism in the United States, 73 percent said it was somewhat of a problem or a very serious problem, while 26 percent said it was not much of a problem or not a problem at all.

The AJC did not poll specifically on Israel as a priority, but it was a rare high note among those polled, with 73 percent saying U.S.-Israel relations were fairly good or very good, and 25 percent saying they were fairly poor or very poor. Asked to respond to the sentiment, “Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew,” 73 percent agreed strongly or somewhat while 26 percent disagreed strongly or somewhat. Asked whether an independent Palestine could exist peacefully alongside Israel, 49 percent said yes and 20 percent said no.

Among religious streams, respondents broke down as 34 percent Reform, tied with 34 percent “just Jewish,” 18 percent Conservative, 9 percent Orthodox and 2 percent Reconstructionist.

Asked about the importance of being Jewish in their life, 79 percent said it was somewhat or very important and 21 percent said it was not too important or not important at all.

Ron Kampeas

JTA D.C. bureau chief