Poll: 73% of American Jews feel ‘less secure’ than 2 years ago
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Poll: 73% of American Jews feel ‘less secure’ than 2 years ago

Nearly 60% think Trump bears ‘some responsibility’ for the Pittsburgh and Poway synagogue shootings, according to findings from the Jewish Electorate Institute

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

A person pauses in front of Stars of David with the names of those killed two days earlier in a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, October 29, 2018. (Matt Rourke/AP)
A person pauses in front of Stars of David with the names of those killed two days earlier in a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, October 29, 2018. (Matt Rourke/AP)

WASHINGTON — Nearly three-quarters of US Jewish voters think American Jews are “less secure” than they were two years ago, according to a survey released Wednesday by longtime Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.

In the wake of deadly synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in Poway, California, 73 percent of US Jews said they felt less safe, while 60% said they thought US President Donald Trump “bears at least some responsibility” for those attacks. Seventy-one percent said they disapprove of the way Trump has more broadly handled anti-Semitism.

The latest findings come as right-wing extremism and white supremacist ideology in the United States appears to be on the rise, with deadly anti-Semitic incidents at a historic high. The Anti-Defamation League found in its most recent audit that there were 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents last year, including 39 reported physical assaults.

The latest poll was commissioned by the Jewish Electorate Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit that examines American Jewish voting trends, ahead of the 2020 election.

Based on a sampling of 1,000 Jewish voters, the survey found that the overwhelming majority of US Jews cared more about domestic political and policy concerns than Israel, which JEI said ranked at the bottom of voters’ 16 biggest priorities going into the election.

The issues of most concern to Jewish voters, the poll said, were healthcare, gun safety, and “combating the influence of white supremacists and the far right.”

US President Donald Trump gestures as he delivers remarks on immigration at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on May 16, 2019. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Trump has made Israel a top foreign policy priority, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, slashing aid to the Palestinian Authority and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s DC offices. His team in charge of trying to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord is expected to release its highly anticipated proposal as soon as next month.

Greenberg Research and JEI conducted the survey online from May 6 to May 12. The poll has a +/-3.2 margin of error.

The survey also found that American Jews overwhelmingly reject the president — 71% said they disapprove of Trump’s overall job performance and 70% view him unfavorably, according to the poll.

Sixty-seven percent of US Jews, a community that has historically been overwhelmingly aligned with the Democratic Party, said that they would vote for a “generic Democrat” over Trump in 2020. Sixty-five percent specifically said they would vote for former US vice president Joe Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner in the primary.

The head of a Jewish Democratic group said Wednesday that the poll results refuted Trump’s March tweet that “Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party.”

“We now have hard data demonstrating that President Trump’s assertions of American Jews abandoning the Democratic party are entirely false,” said Halie Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

In 2016, Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton won 70% of the Jewish vote, according to a poll by GBA Strategies that was commissioned by J Street, a liberal Mideast advocacy group. Trump captured only 5% of the American Jewish electorate’s support.

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