It is no secret that there were many people who were very unhappy when The Jewish Press endorsed George W. Bush for President. Indeed, as far as we can tell we were the only Anglo-Jewish publication to do so. We received countless letters from irate readers and organizational types who were aghast that we would fail to support Al Gore who after all chose a member of the Jewish faith ? and an ostensibly Orthodox one at that ? as his running mate. Nor could they understand how we could think of urging Jews to vote for someone they just knew was itching to continue the policies of the senior George Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker, who made no secret of his disdain for the State of Israel.
It was frustrating to us that few of our critics seemed willing to credit the reasons ? in terms of both foreign and domestic issues ? we gave in our editorial endorsement which we continue to believe made out a compelling case for supporting Mr. Bush the younger. In any event, as our front-page story this week indicates, a new poll just published reports that most American Jews have come around to our way of thinking.
The poll, which surveyed 400 registered Jewish voters from November 28 to 29 shows that President Bush's approval rating at 80%, which is four times the percentage of Jewish votes he received in November 2000.
The poll also discloses that in a proposed rematch with Al Gore, the President was shown to double his share of the Jewish vote to 42% compared to 39% for Mr. Gore.
Key Bush administration officials also received high marks: Secretary of State Colin Powell received a 79% favorable rating; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 76%; and Attorney General John Ashcroft, 54%.
Doubtless the current poll results reflect the President's forthright support for Israel's right to defend itself against Arafat's terrorists, in much the same manner as we are pursuing the war against Osama bin Laden and his cohorts. And one cannot help but compare this principled stand with the probable fence-straddling and perhaps worse, of a President Gore following in the steps of his mentor, Bill Clinton, the architect of the current predicament.