One Very Interesting Finding About U.S. Jews (and Some Others That Aren’t So Shocking)

The Public Religion Research Institute recently released a survey, “Jewish Values in 2012” (note: if you’re not a regular reader, I’m Jewish). I’ll get to that in a minute, but this, from an article in The Forward about the survey, is the most shocking statistic of all (boldface mine):

We’re often told that Jews are an insignificant minority of the American population, politically important only because of their money. In fact, current research indicates a Jewish population numbering about 6.5 million and rising — fewer than Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans or Methodists, but greater than Presbyterians, Episcopalians or Mormons. They represent close to 5 million votes, mostly concentrated in 11 states with a combined 177 electoral votes.

This is why, when the atheist/religious wars flare up, the insistence that American Jews aren’t representative of ‘religion’ rings a little hollow–we’re a minority (obviously), but not an insignificant one compared to other religions and sects.

Anyway, onto the survey (slides here; full report here). There isn’t much that’s surprising: Jews trend strongly left, with Orthodox Jews not doing so as much. We are very cool with gay marriage:


Abortion is strongly supported regardless of political affiliation:

American Jews are overwhelmingly in favor of legal abortion in all (49%) or (44%) most cases. There is little denominational or demographic variation on this level of overall support. There are, however, varying degrees of intensity: Jewish Democrats are more than twice as likely as Jewish Republicans (55% vs. 25% respectively) to say abortion should be legal in all cases. Jewish Democrats’ support for abortion in all or most cases (95%) is also higher than that of Jewish Republicans, although roughly three-quarters (77%) of Jewish Republicans nevertheless maintain support for abortion in all or most cases.

This shouldn’t be surprising: there are situations, even in traditional Orthodox Judaism, where abortion is the moral action. Not an acceptable act, but the right act. Also, this figure illustrates why, in 2008, Republicans didn’t do themselves any favors by sneering at ‘social justice’ (Big Pharma Limbaugh spent a whole week ridiculing the concept):


Not very good outreach to the Jewish community there (an aside: ‘Pursuing justice’ is actually a biblical injuction. These words have meaning to Jews). As I’ve discussed before, some of the liberal bent among Jews has something to do with being Jewish (odd, that).

Anyway, it’s an interesting survey.

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