Jewish Voters Back Biden After Trump Says Voting Democrat Is 'Very Disloyal': Poll

Jewish voters overwhelmingly backed former Vice President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party over President Donald Trump in Tuesday's election, according to an exit poll published by the liberal J Street non-profit organization.

Votes are still being counted as of Wednesday morning, with the election a close race that will come down to a handful of swing states, particularly in the Midwest. Biden had been forecast to easily win the contest, but the election is going down to the wire.

Jewish voters went for Biden over Trump by a 77-21 margin according to J Street's poll, conducted by the GBAO Strategies company and compiled between October 28 and November 3, surveying 800 voters. The margin of error was 3.5 percent.

Jewish voters backed Biden by a larger margin than they did defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, who won 70 percent of the vote to Trump's 25 percent.

Jewish voters also supported down ballot Democratic candidates. Of those surveyed, 78 percent supported Democrats in their congressional races, compared with 21 percent for Republican candidates.

Despite Trump's suggestions to the contrary, American policy on Israel was not the driving issue for Jewish voters. Trump has framed American Jews as primarily focused on Israel, an anti-Semitic trope that has earned him criticism from the Jewish community.

Last year, the president suggested that Jews who voted for Democratic candidates were "being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel."

One day before, he said of wish voters: "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," Trump said from the Oval Office.

The number of respondents who listed Israel as their top voting priority was just 5 percent, down from 9 percent in 2016. Both Trump and Biden are very pro-Israel, though Trump has pushed further than past president's in his support for Israeli nationalism.

This includes Trump's enthusiasm in overlooking Israeli human rights abuses, settlements in the West Bank considered illegal by the United Nations, and annexation of occupied land in the Golan Heights, among other issues.

Biden has voiced his support for the two-state solution—something many observers have said is de facto defunct after years of inaction and the recent Abraham Accords—but has also fully committed to "unshakeable" American diplomatic and military support for Israel.

The primary concerns for the surveyed Jewish voters were the coronavirus pandemic (54 percent), climate change (26 percent), healthcare (25 percent), and the economy (23 percent).

"In this historically pivotal election, Jewish voters have just totally repudiated Donald Trump and a Republican Party that has catered to the most far-right, xenophobic elements of the country," J Street's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said in a statement.

"A strategy built on the myth that Jewish votes can be won with hawkish Israel policy is bound to fail when over and over again American Jews have demonstrated that they are among the most progressive voters in the American electorate, with views on Israel that are pro-diplomacy and pro-peace," Ben-Ami added.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most (72 percent) of those surveyed said they backed a two-state solution. Fifteen percent backed Israeli annexation of Palestinian land while allowing the Palestinians to vote in municipal but not national elections, and 13 percent supported the establishment of a binational state for Jews and Palestinians.

The majority—67 percent—support "the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if it meant the United States exerting pressure on Israel to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace."

Joe BIden, Donald Trump, Israel, voters, Jews
This combination of pictures shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, and President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., early on November 4. ANGELA WEISS,MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty