The exodus of Jewish Americans from the Democratic Party continued in 2014, with only 61 percent of Jews identifying with the party last year, according to a new poll released Tuesday by Gallup.
Sixty-one percent may seem high, compared to 31 percent of the general public who identify as Democrats, but that’s a 3 percent dip from 2013, and a huge drop from 2008, when 71 percent of Jews said they were Democrats.
The Democrats’ loss is the GOP’s gain. In 2014, 29 percent of Jews said they were Republicans, up 1 percent from 2013 and a 7 percent rise from 2008.
The changing attitudes of Jews don’t simply reflect shifts in the American electorate since 2008, as their shift towards Republicans and away from Democrats substantially outpaces any movements by America at large.
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The shift of American Jews away from Democrats has continued steadily throughout President Obama’s presidency, with a brief interruption during his successful 2012 reelection campaign. Many attribute this shift to the president’s relationship with Israel, which has often been more contentious than that of his predecessors. Obama’s overtures towards Iran have been sharply criticized by the Israeli government, and the president has also been more willing to criticize Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.
Unsurprisingly, male Jews and those who identify as highly religious are more likely to support Republicans. In fact, highly religious Jews are on the verge of becoming a Republican demographic, with 42 percent of them favoring the GOP while only 46 percent identify as Democrats.
Despite their rising support for Republicans, only one of the 28 members of Congress who are Jewish is a member of the GOP — newly-elected Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York. Former majority leader Eric Cantor was Jewish, but suffered a shocking primary defeat last summer.
The results are based on a 2014 tracking poll Gallup conducted with 4,116 American Jews.
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