Contrary to Popular Belief, Many US Jews Support Trump
In the 2016 US presidential elections, most polls declared that 70% of American Jews voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In my opinion, American Jewish support for Trump is far higher than commonly thought. Before you recommend sending me to a mental health clinic, please read my reasoning in the article below.
The first question is, of course, who is a Jew? In the United States, voter registration does not indicate voter religion. Polls are conducted by companies that specialize in the Jewish population. The problem is that these companies are actually surveying a partial and unrepresentative group of the Jewish population and therefore the results are distorted.
The largest group not represented at all in the polls are Israeli-Americans. These are Israelis who emigrated to the United States and are citizens with voting rights. Their numbers are not accurately known and there are several estimates ranging from 600,000 to one million. Trump support in this group is very high. There are no official polls on the percentage of support, but I believe that 80% is a conservative estimate. Pollsters do not know how to reach these voters and they only manage to measure a very small percentage of them.
The next group is the ultra-Orthodox. They number about 500,000. Most of them are Trump voters and are voting in high percentages. On the other hand, it is important to remember that the percentage of children in the ultra-Orthodox population is relatively higher than the average population, so the number of voters is not the same ratio as in other populations. They are not surveyed at all because the cost of conducting the survey in this population is very expensive.
The third group is immigrants from the former Soviet Union and their children. These are 350,000, most of whom are Trump voters. For a variety of reasons, too, they are rarely surveyed. Of course, the groups are not homogeneous — for example, a child of an Israeli who marries a third-generation Jew in America — making the measurement even more difficult.
Over the past 30 years, there has been massive internal immigration from the population centers in the north to the “Southwest Belt.” This includes Orange County, California; San Diego County Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Atlanta, and Florida. This migration also includes Jews, and these Jewish communities are growing at a rapid rate. Most polling models still use the old population distribution. We do not know who the “migrant” voters are, but most of them live in conservative areas.
As we can see, most of the polls actually survey less than 50% of the Jewish population that is located in the old Jewish centers and who are largely Democratic voters. If we consider all four populations described above where the percentage of support for Trump is high, it is even possible that a majority of Jews actually voted for Trump.
Adding that to the fact that many voters are afraid to admit that they voted for Trump (especially to their Democrat friends), the obvious conclusion is that the real situation on the ground is the opposite of the common media theme about Hillary. I cannot predict what will happen in 2020, but this trend is likely to continue and may even be strengthened, especially if the Democratic Party chooses an anti-Israeli candidate.
Yossie Hollander is chairman of the Israeli Institute for Economic Planning.