I’ll begin with a general observation: almost all the support for Israel statistically comes from non-Jews. This is simply a mathematical reality. The poll sampled 1,000 voters, only 1.6 percent of whom were Jewish (slightly below the commonly used 2 percent figure). Fifty-eight percent were Protestant, and 25 percent were Catholic. That means the overwhelming number of those who support Israel, as is the case in the general population, are non-Jews.
However, this doesn’t mean religion is irrelevant. Take the question as to whether voters favor Israel using military force against Iran if sanctions don’t derail its nuclear program. Overall, 58 percent would approve. That number is 72 percent for Jews but nearly as high for born again Christians (67 percent). Among atheists? It drops to 40 percent. This pattern repeats itself throughout the poll.
On the question of how concerned we should be about Israel’s security, 100 percent of Jews said “very” or “somewhat.” The lowest/worst response was 88 percent (still high) from atheists, and the second highest/best response again came from born again Christians, with 94 percent.
In a separate post, Rubin notes that support for Israel breaks down on partisan lines:
Remarkably, only 39 percent of Democrats agree that Israel’s enemies are our enemies, while 70 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of independents do. A plurality (42 percent) of Democrats do let on that Obama’s approach in criticizing Israel but not the Palestinians is objectionable, but that figure once again is far lower than it is for Republicans (68 percent) and independents (57 percent). Should Jerusalem remain Israel’s undivided capital? Sixty-three percent of Republicans agree, but only a plurality of Democrats (42 percent) do. Who’s responsible for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Seventy-three percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents say it is the Palestinians fault; only 46 percent of Democrats agree. Would they be more likely to vote for a pro-Israel candidate? A measly 38 percent of Democrats say yes; sixty-nine percent of Republicans would be.
On question after question, Republicans remain the most forceful defenders of Israel, with independents more divided but positive as well. Put differently, if Israel had to rely on Democrats alone, it would not enjoy a majority of American support on key issues.
Here's the Jerusalem Post's take on the same poll. And be sure to read Bill Kristol's piece in the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD on the same subject.