Approximately 70% of Jews in the United States oppose the war in Iraq, compared to 28% who support the war, according to a survey released this week by the American Jewish Committee. The survey indicates that 60% of American Jews do not agree with the way the administration is “handling the campaign against terrorism.”
Support among Jews for the administration’s policies has declined steadily since 2002, before the Iraq war, when an AJCommittee survey found 59% approval both for President Bush’s handling of terrorism and for “military action” to “remove Saddam Hussein from power.”
A survey in the fall of 2003, after the Iraq invasion, found just 43% approving of the war in Iraq and 41% approving the campaign against terrorism, while 54% disapproved of each.
By contrast, ties to Israel remain strong. This year’s poll finds that 36% of respondents consider themselves “very close” to Israel, up from 29% in 2002, and 41% say they are “fairly close” to Israel. Just 23% say they feel “fairly” or “very distant” from Israel, down from 26% in 2002. Similarly, 79% of those polled this year agree that “caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew,” while 19% disagree with this statement. In 2002, the statement was endorsed by 73% and rejected by 26%.
According to the poll, 40% of American Jews have visited Israel — half of those once, half more than once — while 59% have never been there. Of those who have never visited Israel, 49% cite the cost of the flight as the main reason, while 20% cite security concerns and 18% say it is due to “lack of interest.”
On domestic affairs, more American Jews describe themselves as liberal or moderate rather than as conservative. Fully 44% say they are “extremely liberal,” “liberal” or “slightly liberal,” while 29% say they are “moderate” and 26% say they are “extremely conservative,” “conservative” or “slightly conservative.”
Asked whether the Senate should consider a Supreme Court nominee’s likely votes on issues or only legal qualifications, 70% say votes on issues should be weighed. Respondents statistically split, 50% to 49%, on the question of whether a candidate’s views on the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling should “alone disqualify” a nominee.
Only 16% of those polled say they are Republicans, while 54% say they are Democrats and 29% say they are independent. Some 32% of those polled identify as Conservative Jews, 29% as Reform, 10% as Orthodox and 2% as Reconstructionist.
The survey is conducted each year by Market Facts, a consumer research company, based on some 1,000 self-identified Jewish respondents, with a 3% margin of error.