Jewish voting is distinctive and paradoxical. Stereotypes about the voting habits of American Jews include that they vote at unusually high levels, that they’re liberal, that they vote for Democratic candidates without regard to their self-interest, and that Israel is their most important issue. Not only are all of those claims wrong, but they obscure aspects of Jews’ voting behavior that are much more interesting.
The Politics of American Jews uncovers new perspectives on Jews’ political choices by analyzing the unprecedented amount of survey data that is now available, including surveys that permit contrasting the voting of Jews with that of comparable non-Jews. The data suggest several mysteries about Jewish voting. While more Jews are Democrats than are liberals, there has not been a previous exploration of why more politically conservative Jews are not Republicans.
A fresh picture of Jews’ political behaviors shows that Jews are no longer politically monolithic. They vote on the basis of their self-interest and their values, but not all Jews share the same self-interest or the same values. While most Jews have incorporated being Democratic and liberal into their political DNA, growing divisions in their ranks suggest a mutation could occur.