Jews in this country have a lower opinion of President Trump’s moral and political behavior than members of other religions, although they show signs of ambivalence in his handling of “Jewish” issues.
These are among the conclusions of an opinion poll published on March 12 by the Pew Research Center in Washington.
According to the study of 6,395 adults in the United States, which focused on the feelings of white evangelical Protestants but including responses from 303 Jews, Jews are more likely (89%) to view Trump as “self-centered” and more likely to see the president as “prejudice”. The “egocentric” figures for white Christians are 77%; Black Protestants, 76 percent; Hispanic Catholics, 65 percent. And Jews are more likely than Christians to disapprove of “the way Donald Trump behaves.”
These disparate results between Jews and members of other religions reflect the political and religious divide between them and Evangelicals, who are predominantly Republicans, said Claire Gecewicz, chief researcher of the study, which was conducted from 4 to February 15. Previous polls and voting models have shown that “Jews tend to identify with the Democratic Party,” Gecewicz said.
Don’t miss our best stories. Get Jewish Week delivered to your inbox. FREE REGISTRATION
Jews – along with black Protestants and Hispanics – were the least likely to say they agreed with Trump on “all / almost all / a lot of issues.”
When asked if the Trump administration had ‘helped or hurt’ Jews in this country, 40% of Jews said ‘helped’, while 36% said ‘hurt’ (23% thought they didn had neither hurt nor helped). The respective figures for white evangelical Protestants – who were asked whether the administration helped or hurt them – are 57 percent and 10 percent.
The 40% of positive responses and 36% of negative responses to the question “help or hurt” contrast with a 2018 survey of Jews by the American Jewish Committee, which found a strong majority, 57%, disapproving of Trump’s handling of US-Israel relations.
Steven Bayme, national director of contemporary Jewish life at the American Jewish Committee, suggests this indicates what he calls increased Jewish “ambivalence” towards Trump on Jewish issues, particularly Israel. .
Over the past two years, the administration has taken steps such as relocating the United States Embassy to Israel and broad support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on many issues, Bayme said. Although hailed on the right, such movements were also greeted, sometimes warmly, sometimes lukewarm, by Jewish groups in the center and center-left.
The Pew study did not break down Jewish numbers by religious or political affiliation, although Bayme suspects that “Pew reflects the partisan reality that Jewish Democrats largely oppose Trump and Jewish Republicans support him.” This is particularly evident in the Orthodox community, where Trump is seen primarily as “unequivocally pro-Israel.”
Among other discoveries:
By far compared to members of other religions, Jews see themselves “as part of a minority group because of [their] religious beliefs”;
Jews are more likely than Christians to think that “the influence of Christianity on American life is increasing”;
Only one percent of Jews could identify the president’s religious affiliation, compared to 33 percent for Protestants and eight percent for Catholics;
Only 12% of Jews expressed a strong preference for a president “with strong religious beliefs even if they are different from yours”;
Jews are more likely than Christians to think the Trump administration has hurt Muslims;
Jews are far less likely than most Christians to agree that “the Bible should have a great influence on the laws of the United States” and to accept that the Bible should have “more influence … when the Bible and the will of the people are in conflict. . “
The latest figures show how fewer Jews in this country share Orthodox religious leanings, Bayme said. “It shows how secular we have become.
The Pew study had a 7.9 percent margin of error.