Thursday, October 29th 2020   |

Orthodox support for Trump is skyrocketing, survey finds

(JTA) — A new poll shows overwhelming support for President Donald Trump among Orthodox Jews.
The poll, published Wednesday by Ami Magazine, found that 83% of Orthodox respondents plan to vote for Trump in the upcoming election, while just 13% plan to vote for Joe Biden. Those numbers represent a dramatic increase from a 2017 poll by the American Jewish Committee which found that 54% of Orthodox Jews had voted for Trump in 2016.

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community gather on April 8, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York as the Passover holiday starts Wednesday evening and runs to April 16, 2020. – Churches will be empty this Easter and Passover festivities will also take place behind closed doors owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Christians will be obliged to turn to services broadcast on television or over social media this year owing to the coronavirus and Jews will mark the Passover holiday in their own homes rather than as communities. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Ami poll, which was conducted over the past month by an unnamed firm, also found low support among Orthodox Jews for public health restrictions due to COVID-19.

The survey includes 1,000 respondents and has a 3.1% margin of error.

The poll’s numbers put Orthodox Jews politically out of step with American Jews overall, the vast majority of whom oppose Trump and generally vote in large numbers for Democratic candidates. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, only 27% of American Jews plan to vote for Trump, as opposed to 70% for Biden. Those numbers are statistically equivalent to the 71% of Jews who voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, according to Pew.

Orthodox Jews have trended right over the past few decades, voting increasingly for Republican presidential candidates starting with George W. Bush. They tend to view Republicans as more pro-Israel than Democrats and accord more with Republican views of religious freedom.

The Ami poll places Orthodox support for Trump at a higher level than any other other religious group in the United States. The Pew survey found that the highest level of support for Trump came from Evangelical Christians, with 78% saying they planned to vote for the president. Pew did not report a result for Orthodox Jews.

The Ami poll also found that haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Jews are far likelier to vote for Trump than Modern Orthodox Jews. A stunning 95% of haredi Jews said they plan to vote for Trump, as opposed to 56% of Modern Orthodox Jews.

The poll found that Trump has shed some Modern Orthodox support since last year, when Ami found that 70% of Modern Orthodox respondents approved of the job he was doing. The margin of error for Modern Orthodox Jews in the 2020 poll was approximately 4.8%.

The poll also found that Orthodox Jews support public health restrictions aimed at containing COVID-19 far less than Americans as a whole. A majority of Orthodox respondents, 58%, believe that government health regulations are excessive or unnecessary, or that the virus poses no threat at all. Only 32% said that the threat is real and that government guidelines, should be followed, and only 18% of haredi respondents.

While not directly comparable, an August poll shows that a large majority of Americans supports a mask mandate.

The Ami poll was published following days of unrest in Borough Park over recently imposed public heath restrictions aimed at responding to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the heavily Orthodox neighborhood.

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