Once again, the American Jewish Committee’s Annual Survey of Jewish Public Opinion, released last week, reflects a mature, politically stable community that doesn’t flit from position to position based on the latest headlines — this time, trumpeting (exaggerating?) U.S.-Israel friction.
Clearly, President Barack Obama cannot afford to take the Jewish vote for granted after garnering a stunning 78 percent in 2008. While his approval rating among Jews (57 percent) remains significantly higher than among the electorate at large, the AJC survey confirms a slippage that should flash a yellow caution light to Democratic strategists.
If the administration believes that finding a politically palatable compromise on the status of Jerusalem as part of any eventual peace deal will be easy, it should take a close look at Question 8, in which 61 percent say Israel should not be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a “unified city under Israeli jurisdiction.”
Bare majorities approve of his handling of the economy and health care, suggesting growing skepticism about Obama’s domestic policies, but hardly a phase shift.
The survey also suggests a realistic pessimism on the issue of a nuclear Iran. A plurality says they approve of the administration’s handling of the issue, but 42 percent disapprove, and there is deep skepticism that any combination of diplomacy and sanctions will resolve the crisis. American Jews are even more skeptical about the intentions of Israel’s Arab adversaries — even though a slim plurality, 48 percent, support the creation of a Palestinian state “in the current situation,” pretty much unchanged from last year.
And as for those supposedly testy U.S.-Israel relations, the poll found that 73 percent of Jews termed the partnership “somewhat positive” or “very positive.”
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