The political attitudes and preferences of the American Jewish community have a significant impact on American electoral politics. Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population, but voter turnout is considerable: About 85 percent of adult Jews voted in recent presidential elections, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, compared to the national average of 55-63 percent. Our featured voters live in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2016, candidate Donald Trump won all of these states but two—Nevada and Virginia—although Republican support eroded during the 2018 midterms. Since winning margins were small, Jewish voters in these swing states have a real potential to shift the outcome. For instance, in 2016, Trump won by fewer than 11,000 votes in Michigan, a state where an estimated 71,500 adults identify as Jewish, out of a total Jewish population of 116,200, according to new data compiled by the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute. In Florida, where an estimated 510,800 residents of voting age identify as Jewish, out of a total Jewish population of 736,300, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just under 113,000 votes.
We found our “voices” by reaching out to Jewish communities across the country. They are students, lawyers, doctors, businesspeople, public servants and others who range in age from 21 to 92. About two-thirds consider themselves Democrats, while the other third are Republicans, approximately reflecting the voting patterns of the Jewish electorate. However, their attitudes and preferences vary widely—and many of them could be considered independent voters.
Below, you’ll meet the thirty voters we are interviewing. Look for more of their stories in the coming months. Through the fast-moving news cycles, debates, primaries, caucuses and general election, our team will also provide updates, stories, fresh analysis and real-time insights to guide you through this historic and unprecedented campaign.
Director: Amy Saltzman
Deputy director: Suzanne Borden
Interview team: Suzanne Borden, Dan Freedman, Lilly Gelman, Nathan Guttman, Sandra Perlmutter, Amy Saltzman, Francie Schwartz, Stuart Schwartz, Sherry Schweitzer, Charles Wolfson
Additional editorial support: Mary Hadar, Laurence Wolff
Website: Ellen Wexler
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
All Jewish population data is from the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute.