For the first time since he took the oath of office, President Barack Obama’s job-performance disapproval number among Jewish voters is higher than his approval, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC’s) Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion showed Monday.
According to the poll, Jewish approval of the president’s performance declined to 45 percent, with 48 percent disapproving and 7 percent undecided. Last year, 51 percent approved of Obama’s job performance and 44 percent disapproved.
“AJC annual surveys seek to provide timely information on the attitudes of Jews across our nation regarding the pressing issues confronting our community and the country,” said AJC executive David Harris in a statement. “Just as in previous years, this year’s survey offers a treasure-trove of data — and, as always, a few surprises.”
AJC also surveyed Jews’ opinions about the current GOP presidential contenders. In match-ups with the president, AJC found that Mitt Romney would fare best among Jewish voters when running against Obama, with 32 percent of the Jewish vote compared with Obama’s 50 percent. Perry would attract 25 percent of the Jewish vote against Obama’s 55 percent, and Bachmann would get 19 percent to Obama’s 59 percent.
In 2008 78 percent of Jewish voters chose Obama, while McCain took just 22 percent.
The number of Jewish voters who identify themselves as Democrats, according to AJC, has been declining in recent years. In this poll, the percentage of Jewish voters decreased to 45 percent — down three points from 48 percent a year ago, and down eight points from 53 percent in the fall of 2009. (RELATED: Obama gaffe: President says billionaires should pay the ‘Jew’ tax rate)
The percentage of Jewish voters identifying themselves as Republicans remained relatively stagnant at 16 percent, down from 17 percent last year. Jewish voters who consider themselves independents increased to 38 percent this year, from 34 percent last year and 30 percent in 2009.
The findings show that Democrats should likely beware of taking the Jewish vote for granted, especially in the wake of the Republican upset in New York’s 9th Congressional District.
AJC’s poll was conducted by Synovate, which interviewed 800 respondents Sept. 6–21 by telephone.