Polling the Jewish question

Polling the Jewish question

Pew finds bad news, good news for would-be Jewish presidents

A survey released today by the Pew Research Center has good news, bad news, worse news, and horrible news for Senator Bernie Sanders.

The good news is that 8 percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for a candidate because he is Jewish.

The bad news is that 10 percent said they would be less likely to vote for a Jewish candidate.

The worse news is that the philo-Semitism and anti-Semitism the survey reveals varies by party. Ten percent of Republicans would be more likely to vote for a Jew against only 7 percent less likely to vote for one. That won’t help Sanders in the Democratic primaries. Among Democrats and those leaning Democratic, 10 percent would be less inclined to vote for a Jewish candidate, twice the number who would be more likely to do so. (Whether having a Brooklyn accent would help or harm was not specifically asked.)

Now is probably the time to point out that the margin of error for these questions is 3.8 percent — which means it’s possible that these numbers are totally meaningless. But where’s the fun in that?

The worse news for Sanders is that 51 percent said they would be less likely to vote for an atheist for president. True, that number is down from 63 percent in 2007, but it is more than those who would oppose a Muslim (42 percent), a candidate who has financial troubles (41 person), or a gay or lesbian candidate (26 percent).

For 26 percent, candidates’ longtime Washington experience will be held against them.

Regrettably, the survey did not ask how voters would feel about a candidate with a Jewish son-in-law — a trait Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have in common.

And speaking of The Donald: 30 percent see him as somewhat or very religious, versus 40 percent for Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton scored 48 on this question and Ted Cruz, interestingly, only 65.


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