TEL AVIV – While the overwhelming majority of Jewish voters voted for Hillary Clinton over President-elect Donald Trump, the Republican candidate still received the second-highest total Jewish vote for the GOP in the past 30 years, beaten only by Mitt Romney in 2012.
According to a poll released on election night for J Street by Democratic pollster Jim Gerstein, “there is a bloc of Jewish Republicans — it exists, it is small, but it is not going away.”
Clinton received close to 70 percent of the Jewish vote in contrast to Trump’s 25 percent, the poll showed. However, while one-third of Jews who voted for Clinton (32%) said their vote was more of a protest against Trump rather than in favor of Clinton, 45% of those who chose Trump said their vote was more of a protest against Clinton.
22% of Jewish voters said that they had donated to Clinton’s campaign, while 7% said that they donated to Trump’s.
Jewish Americans, Gerstein noted, “voted for Clinton more than Hispanics, and more than any other religious group including [those with] no religion.”
Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks argued that even though he was “disappointed” the Jewish vote for the GOP did not increase this election, he was encouraged that Trump quashed “dire predictions” and still managed to secure “the second-highest vote total [among Jews] in the last 30 years of any Republican candidate,” the Times of Israel reported.
“We have been making consistent inroads in the Jewish vote – the dire predictions that Donald Trump was going to get the smallest share in history of the Jewish vote never materialized,” Brooks said.
Trump’s stance on issues like the Iran nuclear deal helped the RJC sway Jewish voters into voting Republican in swing states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, according to Brooks.
“The deal was central and it paid significant dividends,” said Brooks.
Brooks also noted that Jewish representation on the Republican side of the lower house had now doubled with David Kustoff’s appointment for Tennessee. Jewish Republican Lee Zeldin would go on for a second term in New York. Eric Greitens also celebrated a win as governor of Missouri.
According to Brooks, his organization raised over $5 million in direct contributions for Congressional campaigns and another $10 million for the presidential contest, not counting additional donations made through superPACs.
On Wednesday afternoon, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) released a statement congratulating Trump and running mate Pence, as well as welcoming what it called “the most pro-Israel Congress ever.”