Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer Wolak

Second Advisor

Edward Scott Adler

Third Advisor

David Shneer

Abstract

What causes American Jewish conservatism and why, like Jewish liberalism, has it remained relatively unchanged for so many years? This study approaches the question by assuming that the relationship between Orthodox Jews and Republican identity is more complex than a matter of religiosity. The theory of this paper supports the idea that the religious makeup of close social structures will be indicative of which political party American Jews identify with. Using data from a comprehensive survey of American Jewish life recorded in 2013, this study examines the closest social relationships of American Jews; specifically looking at close friends, spouses, and parents. In analyzing the data for this project a clear picture of the causes of American Jewish Republicans were not found but many important indicators of party identity were uncovered through the numerous control variables and some of these findings are especially important in understanding the political identities of American Jews.

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