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Presidential Elections and the Jewish Vote

November 1, 2017

Jimmy Carter was elected president of the U.S. on this date in 1976, with 71 percent of the Jewish vote. Although President Carter led Israel and Egypt to the Camp David Accords of 1978 and the subsequent peace treaty of 1979, he would be targeted by conservative Jewish leaders for his opposition to Israeli settlement policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. Carter’s share of the Jewish vote declined in 1980 to 45 percent, with John Anderson, an independent candidate, receiving 14 percent, and Ronald Reagan, the Republican victor, 39 percent. It was the lowest tally for any Democratic presidential candidate since 1920.

Here is the percentage of the Jewish vote for the other Democratic candidates since 1960: Kennedy (1960), 82 percent; Johnson (1964), 90 percent; Humphrey (1968), 81 percent; McGovern (1972), 65 percent; Mondale (1984), 68 percent; Dukakis (1988), 64 percent; Bill Clinton (1992), 80 percent; Clinton (1996), 78 percent; Gore (2000), 79 percent; Kerry (2004), 74 percent; Obama (2008), 78 percent; Obama (2012), 69 percent; Hillary Clinton (2016), 71 percent.

“Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” —Milton Himmelfarb