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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

U.S. Jews Support Obama and His Middle East Policy

A new poll of American Jews finds strong support for President Obama and his Middle East peace efforts. The poll, sponsored by J Street, designed by Gerstein | Agne Strategic Communications and administered by Mountain West Research Center and Opinion Outpost, was conducted 3/17-19 “in the aftermath of escalating tensions between Israel and the United States after Israel announced new housing construction in East Jerusalem during Vice President Biden’s recent trip.”
According to the news release announcing the poll’s findings (survey data here):

Obama’s approval in the Jewish community is holding steady at 62 percent. Gallup reported 64 percent approval rating in an October 2009 poll. Obama’s approval rating among Jews is 15 points higher than among all Americans, 47 percent, according to a Gallup poll conducted during the same period.
And in a hypothetical 2012 matchup against his most vociferous Republican critic during the last few weeks on Israel, Obama beats former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin by 70-18 percent.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street explains:

As the Obama administration moves forward toward the goal of achieving Middle East peace, they should be reassured that significant numbers of American Jews support their efforts and recognize that these efforts benefit the shared national interests of both the United States and Israel

The poll also found solid support for the Obama administration’s even handed approach regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict:

And by a 71-29 percent margin, American Jews support the United States “exerting pressure” on both the Israelis and the Arabs to make the necessary compromises to achieve peace. An earlier J Street poll last March found a similar level of support.
A majority of all American Jews, 52-48 percent, still support an active role even if the United States were to publicly state its disagreements with only Israel. American Jews are evenly split on support for exerting pressure on only Israel, a notion that J Street opposes.

What Jim Gerstein, a top expert on public opinion of U.S. Jews and Israelis, who heads the Gerstein | Agne firm, noted about a survey conducted last year is still true: “Jews believe that President Obama is honest and trustworthy…and that he is restoring America’s standing in the world…Trust in the new American President also extends to his Middle East policy…”

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