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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Poll Shows Jewish Vote Abandoning Obama

Its seems as if with each passing day there is another poll reporting American Jews dissatisfaction with President Obama. Yesterday it was the Gallup poll which despite the dishonest write up, showed that American Jews were abandoning Obama faster than the general population.

Released later in the day, was a poll conducted by Republican political operative Dick Morris, the headline of the Morris poll is that if the election was to be held today, Obama would get only 56% of the Jewish vote down from the 78% he received in the 2008 Election and the lowest Democratic candidate percentage since Jimmy Carter's 45% in 1980
Triggering the increasing Jewish disaffection with Obama is opposition to his proposal that an Israeli return to ’67 borders be the starting point of peace negotiations. By 10-83, Jewish voters opposed the plan. Jewish Democrats opposed it by 10-67. Asked if President Obama is “too biased against Israel,” Jewish voters as a whole agreed with the charge by 39-30, while 32 percent of Jewish Democrats also agreed (and 40 percent of Jewish Democrats disagreed).
Jews who identified themselves as Democrats also said:
  • By 43-42, they break evenly on whether Obama “is being too tough on Israel.” 
  • By 61-30, Jewish Democrats think the president “is naïve in thinking that he can make peace with the Arabs.”

The survey probed the issue of 1967 borders in greater depth, the issue brought up by the President's recent speech. Jewish Democrats were given a statement providing both sides of the issue:

President Obama says that Israel should give up the land it occupied after the 1967 war except for some adjustments. He says that these borders would give the Palestinians a viable nation of their own and would lead to a settlement of their conflict with Israel. Others disagree, saying that these borders are too small, exposing Israel to shelling from the Golan Heights in the north and giving the nation a middle only nine miles wide. They say that returning to the pre-’67 borders would not stop the Arabs from wanting to destroy Israel but would make it easier to do so. Which view comes closest to your own?

In response, Jewish Democrats opposed returning to the ’67 borders by 82-8.
....Given the importance of Israel to the Jewish Democratic voters of the United States, it is clear that Obama is playing with fire as he toughens the American foreign policy toward Israel and banks his credibility on the idea that peace is possible simply through Israeli territorial concessions. American Jews — Democrats included — reject the very foundation of Obama’s efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East as “naïve.”
Without a better understanding of how this poll was conducted, I cannot vouch for its veracity. First of all it implies that Jews vote one issue, Israel. This simply is not true. Even hard core pro-Israel Jews do not vote on only one issue. Certainly Israel wasn't the only reason that 55% of American Jews voted against Jimmy Carter in 1980.  But, just as what happened 31 years ago, Barack Obama's anti-Israel policies are causing liberal Jews to wake up and smell the hummus, and evaluate what has happened since January 2009 domestically, and across the world. What they see is not very positive.

Additionally I believe that the numbers are a bit too Obama negative for this early in the campaign. Maybe because it is a generic Republican vs a named candidate, but its hard to believe that without a barrage of campaigning, Obama's support is less than 60%.

That doesn't mean we should throw away this poll totally.  It is simply one more piece of evidence added to the recent anecdotal reports such as the one in Politico and quantitative data, such as the Gallup poll fisked here yesterday, which indicate that a big chunk of the Jewish vote may be up for grabs in 2012.  Hopefully the GOP will pick up this opportunity and run with it, not nationally but in key battleground states where the Jewish vote may make a difference.
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