Are Young American Jews as Left-leaning as the Media Suggests?

Surprisingly, according to a recent survey Jews ages 18-30 are signifcantly more supportive of Donald Trump than are older Jews

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

If one reads both the secular and Jewish American media, one gets the impression that a virtual revolution is going on among the younger generation of American Jews. Focusing on various leftist and left-leaning Jewish groups, such as JStreet U, IfNotNow, Open Hillel, and Never Again Action, I've read dozens of articles suggesting that young Jews are overwhelmingly extremely progressive, hostile to the mainstream Jewish establishment for being too "conservative" (event though that establishment is overwhelmingly liberal on the standard American political spectrum), and in a state of rebellion against what they perceive to be the Jewish establishment's failure to adequately "resist" Donald Trump and to challenge "the occupation" in Israel.

This narrative makes some intuitive sense. After all, young Americans in general are more left-leaning than older Americans, and there the omnipresent left-leaning young Jewish cohort would logically be much bigger now than it was in more conservative eras. Top that off with the fact that the Reform movement has come to dominate American non-Orthodox Jewish religious life, and that this movement has increasingly blurred the lines between normative Judaism and left-wing politics.

And yet, a recent survey by the Democratic GQR polling firm, commissioned by the Jewish Electorate Institute, tells a different story. Here is the key chart:

Note that millennials and under-30s approve of Donald Trump at higher rates than older Jews. And that's not all. The chart mysteriously excludes Orthodox Jews from its data on Trump approval by age group, but only from the younger cohorts. Thanks to high Orthodox birth rates, Orthodox outreach efforts, and widespread assimilation among the non-Orthodox, Orthodox Jews are a much larger percentage of the younger Jewish cohort than of older Jewish cohorts. Orthodox Jews are approximately 10% of all American Jews, but 25% of those under 18. 20% seems a reasonable estimate of the percentage of American Jews 18-30 who are Orthodox. And 57% of Orthodox Jews approve of Trump, but let's round that up to 60% for the younger cohort, since younger Jews in general are more approving of Trump. That means that while only 22% of "greatest generation" Jews approve of Trump, approximately 37% of American Jews under 30 approve of Trump. By contrast, a recent poll showed that only 33% of Americans ages 15-34 approve of Trump.

If true, this would be especially remarkable because young American Jews tend to not be "religious" and live in coastal urban areas, two demographic indicators that strongly predict hostility to Trump.

Of course, the JEI poll needs to be confirmed by other data. And it's entirely possible that it's both true that young Jews are more conservative/Republican/supportive of Trump, and that those who aren't are more leftist than prior generations. But various groups are pushing a narrative that the American Jewish establishment needs to become even more "progressive" if it doesn't want to lose the attention of young American Jews. In turns out that, if anything, the opposite might be true.


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  1. This seems like a super-intellectually dishonest post.
    Approximately 70% of Jews “under 30”, “Milennial,” and “Generation X” disapprove or strongly disapprove of Trump. That’s a lot. And significantly higher than the general population.

    Moreover, there is something called the margin of error and statistical significance, both of which call into question making any of the sort of conclusions you are drawing comparing older and younger Jews.

    1. First, you obviously didn’t read the post carefully, because the 70% figure for under 30 and millennial excludes the Orthodox. Second, I explicitly pointed out that the data has to be confirmed by other studies. And third, I didn’t claim that most young Jews were conservative or approved of Trump, I suggested that they are significantly less left-leaning that is frequently portrayed in the media.

      1. The link in the OP does not seem to go to details of the poll.

        Can you link to that, or did I miss it?

        1. I thought I linked it, but I guess I didn’t. I asked the JEI for the underlying data rather than just the summary they published, but I was ignored.

    2. One would have liked a separate category for Sephardic Jews.

      I would like to understand why Jews vote for the Democrat Party. Someone, please, explain this mystery. They are the mortal enemies of Israel. They support BDS. They are the font of political correctness.

      My unsubstantiated theory is that Jews are more big government dependent. They will vote for existential threats to the Jews to keep their incomes coming. The same is much more true of blacks. In the case of American blacks, the pro-criminal Democrat Party is supporting the destruction of the black family, the 4 fold higher rate of murder of young black people, the permanent, firm implantation of blacks in poverty. High achieving, very dark skinned immigrants from Africa tend to be Republican.

      1. Have you thought of talking to an actual liberal Jew?

        From your charactarization of what Democrats want, it doesn’t sound like you talk to many who aren’t on talk radio.

  2. Thanks David … very interesting observations! We’ll see if they’re borne out by other polls.

  3. Well it is hard to see how the nonOrthodox American/European Jewish population could get any more leftwing then they already are.

    1. Unless they are looking forward to being stuffed into ovens i don’t see how they could be. As progressivism is about as existentially threatening to the safety and security of Jewish as anything could be.

      Where conservatives are not anti Semitic and put their money
      where their mouth is in protecting Jewish people.

      1. Much pro-Jew.
        Very not antisemetic.

  4. Have clingers finally identified the thing that will make them competitive in the American culture war against the dominant liberal-libertarian mainstream?

    Just kidding.

    1. Yeah Arty, I’m sure you disparage Jews as clinging stupidly to their bibles and their Yamakas, right?

      You are a typical antisemite, just like most progressives.

  5. “If true, this would be especially remarkable because young American Jews tend to not be “religious” and live in coastal urban areas, two demographic indicators that strongly predict hostility to Trump.”

    Um, do orthodox Jews tend to not be “religious” and live in coastal urban areas? The former seems contradictory, and I really don’t know about the latter, but, by your numbers, a lot of that support is coming from the orthodox Jews.

    1. At only 20%, the Orthodox aren’t the dominant faction, even among Trump supporters.

  6. Why should anyone but Donald Trump care what under-30 Jews think of Donald Trump? (and, given that it seems like that he doesn’t really care, either…)

      1. Interesting article, Brett, I don’t see why that makes him a “crusader against anti-Semitism.” Those crusaders don’t generally associate themselves with the likes of Steve Bannon.

        I don’t think Trump is personally anti-Semitic, but neither do I think he cares much about it one way or the other. He’s an unprincipled opportunist who says whatever is convenient at the time. Mar-a-Lago presented a business opportunity, which he wanted to take advantage of, and he acted accordingly.

        That’s all.

        1. Trump loves Jews! When it’s time to count his inherited money, that is. (Didn’t you read the books? ‘Jews are for counting money, Hispanics are for landscaping, and blacks are good for nothing.’)

          The relationships with Steve Bannon and the ‘Jews will not replace us’ chanters indicates precisely how, and how much, Trump loves Jews.

          1. More lying bigoted bullshit from Arty. You are the worst kind of trash Arty. If your pals ever fire up the ovens again, I’m sure you will be there to watch, filled with evil glee.

            1. C’mon, show some respect, it’s “Reverend” Arty, since he ordained himself that a few years ago to confer some imagined dignity on himself, while regularly mocking the religious faith of believers.

              And you are aware, aren’t you, that when “Reverend” Arty isn’t prosletyzing on behalf of atheism, antisemitism, “anti-Zionism,” and the Left generally, he writes “movie” scripts. (He hopes one day to see the I-P conflict made into a sequel to Exodus, but with all Israelis translocated to West Texas. That’s his anti-Zionist wet dream. He doesn’t say why the Palies shouldn’t go to West Texas or Dearborn. Ask him about it.)

              1. Do you disagree with anything in Arthur’s comment? If so, do those quibbles justify Last of the Shitlords calling him, in effect, a Nazi sympathizer who would celebrate a new genocide on Jews?

                Whatever differences I have with Arthur over Israel, I’d rather debate them without somebody like Last of the Shitlords on my side.

                1. Neurodoc sees no reason why he should limit himself to criticizing what “Arthur” (irreverent not to address him by faux ministerial title he conferred on himself some time ago?) has said on these boards to what is in the post immediately above his own. Or intercede on the “Reverend’s” behalf to say what, that neurodoc has never heard him go with naked antisemitism, let alone wish for the death of Jews? But you Leo are free to defend him as you see fit against whatever Last of the Shitlords (apt name for a troll, no?) may say to him or anyone else.

                  Neurodoc would suggest if the “Reverend,” who is so contemptuous of religious faith, doesn’t want to be accused of antisemitism or any taint of Nazism, he should stop pushing his West Texas version of Rademacher’s Madagascar Plan for troublesome Jews, though the “Reverend” thinks it so imminently reasonable. (Do you think the “Reverend’s” solution/i> to the Jewish Problem is better than neurodoc sees it?)

                  1. Neurodoc is too committed to the Republicans’ bigotry-and-backwardness agenda, and too enamored of Israel’s right-wing belligerence, to be sidetracked by the inconvenient facts of the conservative tilt at Stormfront or of the Republican politics of those chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil.”

                    Neurodoc also is going to wonder why, after clingers make Israel’s right-wing ugliness a left-right divider in American politics, so many young Americans reconsider the wisdom of providing, at great and varied costs, the political, economic, and military skirts that Netanyahu’s Israel hides behind. He likely lacks the self-awareness that would enable him to recognize the counterproductive nature of his conduct.

                    1. I know Neurodoc, and he’s nothing like the caricature you think. But two wrongs don’t make a right. He shouldn’t have gone ad hominum at you, especially when it gives cover to scurrilous smears like Last of the Shitlords.’

              2. By the way, “neurodoc” sounds familiar. Weren’t you an OG commenter on the Volokh threads back in the day?

                1. “OG,” what’s that?

        2. “Brett, I don’t see why that makes him a “crusader against anti-Semitism.” Those crusaders don’t generally associate themselves with the likes of Steve Bannon”

          I dunno, Biden was a crusader against racism.

          But now even AOC and the young progressives in Congress are now admitting the Democrats are the real racists.

        3. “The likes of Steve Bannon.”

          I get that you don’t like Steve Bannon. But, what’s the basis for using associating with him as evidence of being an anti-Semite?

          The left is awfully free with that accusation. Especially given its tolerance for people like Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. You label people anti-Semites for the most tenuous of reasons, and then label as anti-Semites everybody who doesn’t instantly respond to the accusation by shunning them. After you get a few degrees out from the original accusation, you’ve got a basis for accusing the entire population of the Earth of being anti-Semitic.

          The “crusader against anti-Semitism” line was part of the headline of the article I linked to. My personal take on it is that Trump just exploited an opportunity, but he was able and willing to exploit it exactly because he WASN’T an anti-Semite, and didn’t mind people knowing it.

  7. “He’s an unprincipled opportunist who says whatever is convenient at the time.” For sure, just like his predecessor(s).

    1. meh. The secret to successfully lying is to mostly tell the truth, so people are fooled when you don’t. Trump either still hasn’t figured that out, or is just INCAPABLE of telling any truth, except by accident.

      1. Pot or Kettle, depends on who you like.

      2. He’s far more honest than Obama. Or any of those shitbags in the democrat primary. That group could fill a cantina in Mos Eisley.

        1. When you say preposterous stuff like this, you’re OK with telling the world you’re so consumed by tribal animosity that nothing you say should be taken seriously?

          1. Pot / Kettle.

            1. ‘No U!’ is always a great way to combat people calling you unthinkingly partisan.

              Unsurprising, then, that you continue to post about your personal, exhaustively anecdotal study about Democratically appointed judges always finding against Trump policies.

  8. Along with a cat, the bag that ends this ballgame surely also contains a bell that can’t be unrung, doesn’t it?

    1. Whoops! That comment was intended for a different post. Sorry for the confuzzlement.

  9. “Conservative” Judaism is only slightly less liberal than Reform Judaism. Both of those are in decline, as are liberal branches of Christianity.

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