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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at and

A recent Pew Survey showed that while 20% of Jews considered themselves Republicans in 2008, 29% considered themselves Republicans in 2011.   This 9-point gain, though seemingly impressive, is only slightly greater than the overall Republican gain (4 points, from 39 percent to 43 percent).

The 20% of Jews who are Republicans tracked the Republican percentage of the Jewish vote pretty well; in 2008 Obama beat McCain among Jews 78-22%. So if the gains in the Pew survey hold, the Republican nominee might get 30 percent of the Jewish vote- pretty good compared to the last couple of elections, but still weaker than the elections of 1972 (35%) and 1980 (39%).  The post-New Deal* highs of Republican Jewish support were attained in 1956 (when Ike got 40% of the Jewish vote) and again in 1980 (when Reagan got 39% of the Jewish vote in a three-way race). 

Another way of looking at Jewish Republican votes is to ask: by what % of the vote did the Jewish GOP vote trail the national GOP vote?

1952 -19

1956 -17

1960 -31

1964 -28

1968 -26

1972 -25

1976 -21

1980 -11

1984 -27

1988 -19

1992 -26

1996 -25

2000 -29

2004 -26

2008 -24

If the Republican nominee gets 50 percent of the national vote and 30 percent of the Jewish vote, the gap will be -20, slightly lower than average but not the lowest. 

*I found one source that asserted that the GOP share of the Jewish vote was in the mid-40s in 1916-24.  But in the absence of opinion polls, I don’t know where this figure comes from.

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