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Orthodox Jews back Trump by massive margin, poll finds

  • October 14, 2020

NEW YORK — An overwhelming percentage of Orthodox Jews in the US plan to cast their ballots for President Donald Trump come November, according to a poll published Wednesday.

The survey from the community’s Ami Magazine found that a whopping 83 percent of Orthodox Jews said they will vote for Trump, compared to just 13% who said they’d support the Democratic Party’s nominee Joe Biden. Four percent of respondents remain undecided, with just 20 days remaining until the election

The poll also found that 76% of respondents believe the media is unfair to the president, while 14% said they believe that the press is mostly fair to Trump.

Respondents were not asked what issues motivated their voting plans.

Political surveys of only Orthodox Jews are rare. A survey of Orthodox Jews conducted in January, provided to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, found that 66% of Haredi voters reported having voted for Trump in 2016, compared to just 32% of Modern Orthodox voters.

A 2017 survey from the American Jewish Committee found that 54% of Orthodox Jews voted for Trump in the previous election. Since then, Trump’s favorables among the denomination’s members have risen, climbing to 71% according to the AJC survey. A 2019 Ami Magazine poll found that 89% of Orthodox Jews approve of Trump’s performance as president.

The Wednesday Ami poll relied on responses from 1,000 members of the Orthodox community. The magazine said the breakdown in respondents was based on “the most currently available internal data, which breaks down America’s Orthodox Jewish constituency as 66% ultra-Orthodox or Haredi, 23% Modern Orthodox, 6% Traditional and 5% identifying either as Orthodox without a specific denomination or preferring not to say.”

Respondents hailed from 22 states, but many — including some with sizable Orthodox populations — were left out, including Michigan, Arizona and Rhode Island. The margin of error was 3.1%.

The largest concentrations of Orthodox Jews is found in New York, New Jersey, and other overwhelmingly blue states, giving them limited influence, but tens of thousands also live in swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania whose electoral college votes are slated to be decisive on November 3, and can be an important factor there.

The Ami poll was published just a day after the release of a Pew Research Center survey which found that 70% of American Jews overall plan to vote for Biden, while 27% plan to vote for Trump.

If those numbers bear out, they will be nearly identical to the Jewish result in 2016, when Pew found that Hillary Clinton won 71% of the Jewish vote to Trump’s 25%. In 2012, the numbers were slightly higher for the Republican candidate: Barack Obama won 69% of the Jewish vote while Mitt Romney won 30%.

The margin of error for Jewish respondents on the Pew survey is quite large, at 9.6%, which means that the result is statistically similar to the Jewish vote in previous elections.

JTA contributed to this report.

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