New York election: Has Obama lost the Jewish vote?

Conservative provocateur Matt Drudge’s headline this morning on the election in NY-9 screamed:

“Revenge of the Jews; Dem Seat Turns in NYC”

It was a fresh headline on this Washington Post article about the Republican win of a long-time Democratic seat in New York.

And in today’s Wall Street Journal, Dan Senor argues that the Democrats’ special-election loss in New York City was a direct rebuke of President Obama’s Israel policy. Senor, who was the Bush administration’s top spokesman in Iraq, analyzes Obama’s “Israel problem” in detail – and concludes that the president is hemorrhaging support among Jewish voters (who broke strongly for him in 2008).

If true, this could pose a serious threat: Jewish voters are a key voting bloc in critical swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania.

But the evidence is hardly clear-cut. Over at CNN’s religion blog, Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg is quoted today as saying that Obama’s recent drop in approval ratings among Jewish voters in NY-9 simply mirrored the drop in approval ratings among Democrats in general.

“Jewish voters are no different than all the voters in the district.”

And nationally, as recently as last June, Gallup found Jewish voters giving Obama a 60 percent approval rating. Among Jewish Democrats, support was at 83 percent. Notably, those numbers came in the wake of Obama’s May speech declaring that Israel’s 1967 borders should be the starting point for peace negotiations – a speech that drew criticism from some Jewish leaders.

Gallup concluded there was “no evidence” that the policy speech had any significant impact on Jewish voters’ attitudes toward Obama.

This would seem to suggest that Jewish voters – like Democrats overall – may have grown increasingly unhappy with the president after what was an indisputably rough summer (the debt-ceiling debacle, the S&P downgrade, bad jobs reports). But that doesn’t mean Obama has a unique problem with this bloc, or that he won’t necessarily be able to bring them around when the time comes.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/15/2011 - 09:15 pm.

    Assailed as right-wing extremists and accused of possessing all the negative attributes that go along with that label, the infamous “neo-cons” are actually former leftist Jews. People with last names like Podhoretz, Kristol, Rosen, Friedberg, Goldfarb, Wolfowitz, et al, formed PNAC for the expressed purpose of saving Israel.

    They came to realize that the political Left was the real home of antisemitism in the world and Israel would only be safe when America was in the hands of conservative republican leadership who would defend Israel with massive military force if necessary.

    I’ve said before on this site that George W. Bush was the best friend Israel ever had and Barack Obama will be their biggest nightmare. It takes some people longer to wake up than others.

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