Home > Spotlight Analysis > Jewish Partisanship and Ideology Unchanged Despite Political Controversies
Jewish Partisanship and Ideology Unchanged Despite Political Controversies
Daniel Greenberg, PRRI Staff,
08.23.2019

After Muslim Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were barred from visiting Israel following pressure from President Donald Trump, the president has now said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” That is likely news to approximately three-quarters of Jewish American voters who supported Democratic candidates in the 2018 House races

According to PRRI’s American Values Atlas, nearly half (47%) of Jewish Americans identify as Democrats, and an additional 32% are independent. Only 18% identify as Republican.

Trump’s comments follow months of tension between Trump and the congresswomen, and within the Democratic Party, over Omar and Tlaib’s outspoken disapproval of Israel. Trump has attempted to brand the Democratic Party as anti-Semitic, and in March, House Democrats led the charge in passing an anti-hate resolution Israel’s influence on American politics.

Party affiliation among Jews has remained fairly consistent over the last five years with no significant changes among Democrats between 2013 (50%) and 2018 (47%) or Republicans (18% in 2013 and 2018).[2] While the number of Jews who identify as independent has slightly increased from 28% in 2013 to 32% in 2018, overall Jewish political identity and ideology has not otherwise notably changed between the final years of the Obama administration and the first years of the Trump administration.

There have, however, been some shifts in demographic groups. Jewish Democrats hold either a majority or plurality across every age, gender, education, denominational, and regional group, but there have been a few declines in support among groups that lean more conservative in the American population as a whole.

There has been a significant decline in the number of Jewish Democrats between the ages of 50 and 64 between 2013 (55%) and 2018 (44%). This is accompanied by a significant increase in the number of independents in that same age range between 2013 (26%) and 2018 (34%). Interestingly, Jewish seniors are the most likely age group among Jews to identify as Democrat, with majorities in both 2013 (60%) and 2018 (57%) doing so. A plurality of young Jews ages 18-29 who identify as Democrat has also dropped between 2013 (50%) and 2018 (40%), though not substantially.

The percentage of Jewish Americans with a high school degree or less who identify as Democrats has declined over this period (40% to 31%) which has been offset by increases in the number who identify as independents (30% to 39%). The number of Jewish postgraduates identifying as Democratic has remained strong (64% in 2013 and 59% in 2018), and the number of Republican postgraduates has slightly declined by three percentage points.

Among Jewish conservatives, under one in ten (9%) identify as, while a plurality (47%) identify as Republican.  Jewish moderates are more likely to identify as independent (48%), and only a third would consider themselves Democrats (35%).

There have not been any significant changes in party affiliation among Jews by denomination (reformed, conservative, or orthodox), race, or ethnicity.

[1] The Jewish vote was 79% Democratic according to the National Election Pool 2018 national exit polls, as reported by NBC.com. The AP’s VoteCast reports the number as 71%, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

[2] Sources: PRRI 2013 American Values Atlas; PRRI 2018 American Values Atlas.