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Most US Jews support Obama's re-election: survey

April 03, 2012


President Barack Obama reaches out to shake hands with Howard Friedman, past president and current AIPAC board member, after he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference opening plenary session in Washington. -AP File Photo

WASHINGTON: American Jews strongly support President Barack Obama's re-election even though backing by the key voting group has slipped since he was first elected to office, according to a survey released on Tuesday.    

Sixty-two percent of Jewish voters said they would like to see Obama re-elected versus 30 per cent who prefer a Republican to win the November election, the Jewish Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute said.

Jews make up only 2 per cent of the US population but are crucial for Obama. They are heavily Democratic and are concentrated in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Florida that are important to Obama's bid for re-election.

Obama, a Democrat, has come under attack from Republican presidential candidates who allege he has not been supportive of Israel.

Overall support for Obama is nearly identical to the backing he had at the same point in the 2008 campaign when he was locked in a primary battle with Hillary Clinton, the survey said.

But support is down from the 78 per cent of Jewish votes Obama garnered in the 2008 election when he defeated Republican John McCain.

Obama's approval rating is 61 per cent among Jewish voters, the survey showed, above the 50 percent notched among Americans overall in a Reuters/Ipsos poll last month.

The Jewish Values Survey shows 51 per cent of Jewish voters say the economy is the most important issue for the 2012 election.

Israel and Iran, whose nuclear program the West suspects is a cover to develop atomic weapons, rank at 4 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

The survey was carried out among 1,004 Jewish adults over 18 and interviews were done online between Feb. 23 and March 5. The margin of error is 5 percentage points.