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Jewish swing-state voters support Biden in higher numbers than Clinton: poll

Jewish voters in the crucial swing states of Pennsylvania and Florida overwhelmingly favor Democrat Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential election, according to a poll released Wednesday by J Street.

Three-quarters of likely Jewish voters in Pennsylvania plan to vote for Biden, compared to 22% who support Trump. In Florida, Jewish voters break for Biden 73% to 22%.

While Jewish voters have historically supported Democrats candidates, the J Street poll shows an improvement for Democrats compared to 2016, when the organization’s exit polling found Democrat Hillary Clinton received 68 percent of the Jewish vote in Florida.

“After four years of constant refrains from Donald Trump and the Republican Jewish Coalition about how he’s the most pro-Israel president ever and Jewish voters should flock to him, we’re seeing the exact opposite,” J Street spokesman Logan Bayroff said in an interview.

Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks criticized the poll’s methodology, arguing that it included too many respondents who identified as atheist or agnostic and underrepresented Orthodox Jews.

“It’s not a Jewish survey, it’s a quasi-Jewish survey, which is meaningless in terms of predictive value,” Brooks said.

While 12 percent of Pennsylvania respondents and 11 percent of Florida respondents identified as atheist, agnostic, “something else” or “nothing in particular,” when asked about their religion, all those polled said they also identified as Jewish.

Brooks said the RJC had internal polling that showed Trump performing better than the J Street results, but declined to share the findings.

“I don’t need to release our playbook,” Brooks said.

‘Political cost’ to Israel policies

Bayroff said the survey shows that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem have failed to win over even a marginal number of Jewish voters in critical swing states.

“There’s no political benefit, and in fact there’s probably political cost, in only running policies that are right-wing on Israel,” Bayroff said.

The poll showed that Jewish voters in both states trusted Biden more than Trump when it came to all of a wide variety of issues, from the coronavirus pandemic to the economy and healthcare.

While Jewish voters believed Biden would do a better job handling Israel than Trump, his advantage on that issue was the lowest of any that the survey asked about. Voters favored Biden over Trump on Israel 56% to 35% in Florida and 56% to 28% in Pennsylvania.

Those numbers suggest that nearly 20% of Jewish voters in both states are planning to support Biden or Trump despite favoring the president’s Israel policy.

“Israel is not a decisive issue for most Jewish voters in this country,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.

The poll was conducted between October 12 and 15 and based on interviews with 600 likely Jewish voters in Florida and 710 in Pennsylvania. The margin of error is 4 percent in Florida and 3.7 percent in Pennsylvania. It was conducted by the polling firm GBAO, which has a B/C rating from FiveThirtyEight.

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