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AJC poll shows 65 percent of Jews supporting Obama

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President Barack Obama, left, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney

WASHINGTON — A new American Jewish Committee poll found 65 percent of Jews nationwide planning to vote for President Barack Obama versus 24 percent for Mitt Romney, with another 10 percent undecided.

The poll, conducted Sept. 6-17 among 1,040 Jewish voters nationwide, found President Obama doing better than Romney among Jews of all religious backgrounds with the exception of Orthodox Jews, who favored the Republican nominee.

Taking into account the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, the poll's overall finding regarding the state of the Jewish vote is similar to other recent polling from Gallup and elsewhere. Another recent poll by the AJC of registered Jewish voters in Florida found 69 percent supporting Obama and 25 percent for Romney.

According to the AJC's national survey, more members of liberal denominations and the unaffiliated tended to favor Obama. Reform Jews favored Obama over Romney 68 percent to 23 percent, Conservative Jews 64 percent to 23 percent, and those identifying themselves as "just Jewish" 68 percent to 19 percent. Orthodox Jews, by contrast, favor Romney 54 percent to 40 percent for Obama.

Obama tended to score higher on domestic policy and national security than on foreign policy, although he had substantial majorities approving of his performance in both areas.

On the economy, 63 percent of respondents approved of his performance while 37 percent did not; on health care, the split was 68-32; and on national security it was 76-23.

Obama's handling of Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program and of relations with Israel scored precisely the same: 61 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved.

Majorities supported U.S. or Israeli military action should diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program -- favoring U.S. action by a margin of 64 percent to 35 percent opposed and favoring Israeli action by a margin of 73 percent to 26 percent.

Israel came in at a distant fourth among issues that respondents listed as "most important" to them, with 61.5 percent listing the economy, 16.1 percent listing health care, 4.7 percent listing abortion and 4.5 percent listing U.S.-Israel relations.

That preference persisted when respondents were asked if what was their second-most-important issue, U.S.-Israel relations named by 4.2 percent, and third-most-important issue, with Israel relations cited by 6.1 percent.

The poll was conducted for AJC by GfK Group through email among a pool of respondents who had previously self-identified as Jewish.

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