Identity versus Identity: Israel and Evangelicals and the Two-Front War for Jewish Votes
Politics and Religion, Vol. 2, pp. 395–419, 2009
25 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2009
Date Written: December 15, 2009
Republicans made major efforts to win a larger share of the Jewish vote in 2004 by emphasizing their strong support for Israel. They partially succeeded, but did not make a dent in the overall loyalty of American Jews to the Democratic party, since they lost approximately as many votes because of Jews’ negative reactions to the party’s evangelical base. We argue that both Israel and worries over evangelical influence in the country reflect concerns about Jewish identity, above and beyond disagreements on specific social issues We compare American Jewish voting behavior and liberalism to non-Jews in 2004 using a survey of Jews from the National Jewish Democratic Coalition and the American National Election Study. For non-Jews, attitudes toward evangelicals are closely linked to social issues, but for Jews this correlation is small. The Jewish reaction to evangelicals is more of an issue of identity and the close ties of evangelicals to the Republican party keeps many Jews Democratic. Attitudes toward evangelicals are far more important to Jewish voting behavior than for non-Jewish voters.
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