Voting patterns of Jews and other religious groups

John Sides has a graph showing that, for the past twenty years, Jews have been giving 70-80% of their votes to Democratic presidential candidates. From our forthcoming Red State, Blue State book, here are some data going back to 1968 (from the National Election Study):


Perhaps also of interest is how this relates to religious attendance. More frequent attenders are more likely to vote Republican, but the pattern varies by denomination. Here’s what was happening in 2004 (as estimated from the Annenberg pre-election survey):


The graph for 2000 looks similar except that the line for Jews was flat in that year.

Why care about Jewish voters?

The underlying question, though, is why should we care about a voting bloc that represents only 2% of the population (and even if Jews turn out at a 50% higher rate than others, that would still be only 3% of the voters), most of whom are in non-battleground states such as New York, California, and New Jersey? Even in Florida, Jews are less than 4% of the population. I think a lot of this has to be about campaign contributions and news media influence. But, if so, the relevant questions have to do with intensity of opinions among elite Jews rather than aggregates.

P.S. This sort of concern is not restricted to Jews, of course. Different minority groups exercise political power in different ways. I just thought it was worth pointing out that this isn’t a pure public opinion issue but rather something with more indirect pathways.

4 thoughts on “Voting patterns of Jews and other religious groups

  1. You know, I tell my (graduate) students about your blog. Say it has good advice, etc.

    And then you go and label a plot with "Probability" on the Y-axis, and a scale from zero to 100 percent.


    Et tu, Andrew?

  2. Republican-voting Jews account for something like 2/3rd of one percent of the electorate, but represent one to two orders of magnitude higher representation among opinion-mongers at the Washington Post, Fox News, and even the New York Times.

  3. Steve:

    1. We actually did try separating white and black Protestants. It had the expected effects (white Protestants are more Republican than Protestants as a whole) but the overall changes were small enough that we decided it was just simpler to present by denomination.

    2. Exactly.

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