Politics

Obama Beats McCain Among Jewish Voters

by Lydia Saad

Trails Clinton by slim margin among Jewish Democrats for the nomination

PRINCETON, NJ -- Barack Obama is faring better than might be expected among Jewish voters, beating John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily general-election matchups and trailing Hillary Clinton only slightly in Jewish Democrats' preferences for the Democratic nomination.

This is according to an aggregate of Gallup Poll Daily tracking from April 1-30, including interviews with close to 800 Jewish voters, and nearly 600 Jewish Democratic voters.

Furthermore, Gallup Poll Daily tracking finds no recent decline in the percentage of Jewish Democrats favoring Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Jewish Democrats continue to favor Clinton, but by only a slim margin over Obama -- 50% to 43% in April, compared with 51% to 41% in March.

In terms of the general election, Jewish voters nationwide are nearly as likely to say they would vote for Obama if he were the Democratic nominee running against the Republican McCain (61%), as to say they would vote for Clinton (66%).

According to Gallup's aggregated tracking data for all of April, 61% of Jewish voters would vote for Obama, much higher than the national average of 45% of all registered voters.

Rather than declining between March and April, support for Obama versus McCain among Jewish voters has increased slightly, from a 23-point margin in favor of Obama (58% to 35%) to a 29-point margin (61% to 32%).

The results are similar for Clinton, who received 66% of the vote from Jewish Democrats in April, compared with 27% for McCain -- a 39-point lead. Clinton led McCain by 29 points in March, 61% to 32%.

Bottom Line

Evidence of Obama's concern about Jewish support for his candidacy stretches back to at least January, when he first publicly refuted Web-fueled rumors that he is or has been a Muslim -- the implication of the rumors being that he would be sympathetic to Muslim political concerns and anti-Israel in his worldview. At the same time, he also disassociated himself from the anti-Semitic remarks of black activist Louis Farrakhan, and has recently disassociated himself from his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Thus, any damage to Jews' perceptions of Obama as someone who would be sympathetic and fair to their interests could have occurred much earlier in the campaign. However, in terms of recent events -- particularly the ongoing controversy about why Obama would have belonged to a church led by someone with Wright's anti-Israel views (among other criticisms of Wright) -- Gallup trends suggest Obama's Jewish support is holding up.

Survey Methods

These results are based on monthly aggregates of Gallup Poll Daily tracking interviews for March 2008 and April 2008.

The March 2008 aggregate is based on interviews conducted March 1-31, 2008. It includes interviews with 24,290 voters, 632 Jewish voters, 12,045 Democratic voters, and 449 Jewish Democratic voters.

The April 2008 aggregate is based on interviews conducted April 1-30, 2008. It includes interviews with 30,311 voters, 790 Jewish voters, 14,989 Democratic voters, and 588 Jewish Democratic voters.

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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