J Street’s polling is compromised by the fact that its pollster Jim Gerstein served on its Board of Directors.
J Street publicly releases the survey methodology, composition of the sample, and the full question wording for our polls of American Jews. This full disclosure and transparency reflects J Street’s commitment to opening up its research to professional scrutiny and is unparalleled among other organizations conducting public opinion research of American Jews.
Some who disagree with J Street’s views choose to attack the credibility of our pollster, rather than debate the merits of our opinions. But the fact that Jim Gerstein was a founding member of J Street’s Board of Directors doesn’t change the views of Jewish Americans on Israel.
Over the past few years, J Street’s opinion research has confirmed what surveys by other organizations have shown over the years: the majority of Jewish Americans hold moderate views when it comes to Israel and the Middle East.
A majority of Jewish Americans support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, oppose expanding settlements on the West Bank, and favor assertive American diplomacy to end the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. They supported Barack Obama for President by 78 percent over John McCain, and they have consistently been among the most progressive American voters on a whole range of foreign and domestic policy issues.
Gerstein’s views on Israel and the Middle East are no secret – nor is his involvement as a key and early founder of J Street.
He was the Executive Director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation for many years. He lived in Israel in the late 1990s, where he was a member of Ehud Barak’s polling and communications team, and he currently serves as Vice President of the board of the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center and on the board of Americans for Peace Now.
Much as John McCain and Barack Obama chose pollsters who shared their politics to guide them through the 2008 campaign, J Street chose Jim Gerstein to be its lead pollster and a key strategist precisely because he combines a pro-Israel, pro-peace perspective on issues relating to Israel and the Middle East with deep expertise in analyzing American politics.