THE JEWISH VOTE IN THE USA

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Source: Roger Froikin, December 29, 2023

(and why the claims are wrong)

Let’s look at the facts. The only way of measuring the Jewish Vote or Jewish opinion in the USA is by one of two things: (1) Voting patterns based on resident patterns from the US census, and (2) Polls by telephone based on lists provided by Jewish organizations.

But the last time “religion” was a question on a US Census was in 1990. So, if one uses the 1990 census to find out how Jews voted in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, one has to assume Jews still populate the same districts, the same neighborhoods, the same precincts, and in the same relative numbers that they did in 1990. The fact is that they do not. In every major city in the USA, Jewish populations have moved, often replaced with Black populations.

Example: A neighborhood in Ohio that in 1990 in which 25% of the voters were Jewish, is now almost 100% Black non-Jewish. Yet the vote in that neighborhood is still assumed to be 25% Jewish in these surveys based on that earlier census. This is something repeated all over the USA.

If one looks closer at the statistics, on a local area basis, one finds that the Jewish vote is not being counted accurately, and that it was in 2016 closer to 50% Democrat, not the 72-78% that people get from assessments based on the 1990 resident patterns.

As for Jewish Opinion Polls. One might ask whether the polls measure Jewish opinion, or the opinion of a certain segment of Jews, and whether the poll can legitimately claim to represent “Jewish Opinion”.

When Polls are run of Jewish opinion, the pollsters cannot just call at random. They need call lists, and they use call lists provided by various Jewish organizations. The problem is this. Less than half of American Jews are affiliated with large national Jewish organizations. Most young Jews have not yet affiliated with anything and many older Jews, once their children are past Bar Mitzva age, are not affiliated, and affiliation rates with large national organizations drop with for traditional minded or Orthodox Jews. So, what is being measured? The polls lean heavily to use lists from the UAHC, the Reform Organization, with affiliated Reform Jews, who make up about 20% of American Jews representing more than 50% of those polled and expressing opinions.

And worse, when you hear of a poll of American Jewish Leaders, and then look closely, you tend to find a finite list of mostly Reform Rabbis and Organizational leaders who rotate between Jobs in the Jewish community and positions in Democratic Administrations.

So, believe polls if you want to, but please do not claim they represent American Jewish thinking on political issues, on Israel, or on much of anything else. And please do not allow political interests to characterize the Jewish Community as believing this or that based on faulty polls. Do you realize the kind of damage it does to Jews in America when people are allowed to assume these faulty polls are correct and meaningful?

One more point. It is an error to assume that those that the media and many Jews look at as Jewish leaders are actually representing American Jewish interests. Most are hardly Jewish in their personal and family lives and so do not share the interests of those who value their Jewish heritage and beliefs to a degree greater than acknowledging ancestry and a few customs.