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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish voters’

J Street Boasting of Defeating Israel’s Friends, But its Relevance Is Questionable

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Given the large election majority received by President Obama and many other of their favored candidates, a reasonable morning-after position for a group such as J Street would be one of quiet satisfaction, or even – why not? – gleeful rejoicing.

But J Street, which has rarely met a critic of Israel it didn’t like, instead tried to promote itself as an integral part of the campaign, a driving wind propelling Democratic victories. So eager to claim a starring role, J Street released details of several exit polls they commissioned which, upon examination, tell far more about how little J Street matters.

But first, to refresh your memory regarding the quality of candidates supported by J Street:

In the Wisconsin race for U.S. Senator, the Democratic contender, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, defeated former Wisconsin governor Republican Tommy Thompson. Although Israel was not much of an issue in the race, the Emergency Committee for Israel, a staunchly pro-Israel organization with conservative political roots, aired an ad attacking what they called Baldwin’s anti-Israel position during her congressional career.

ECI said Baldwin was “nothing less than hostile to the U.S.-Israel alliance. She has accused Israel of war crimes, befriended anti-Israel groups, refused to sign bipartisan letters of support for Israel, and defended the libelous Goldstone Report.”

Yes, that was J Street’s candidate in that race.

J Street supported Cheri Bustos in the 17th Congressional District of Illinois, and she defeated Republican Bobby Schilling. Unlike Baldwin, Bustos has nothing whatsover to say about foreign policy. Her issues are jobs, the economy, Medicare and Social Security, and the second Amendment. But in losing Schilling, Israel has lost a great friend in Congress, with a 0 rating by the Arab American Institute.

There goes another J Street-targeted friend of Israel.

And, as was to by expected, J Street threw their support behind the CAIR and Hamas man in Washington, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota. He is a regular at CAIR fundraisers and pro-Hamas rallies. A former member in Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, Ellison has also participated, later in life, in interfaith dialogue (mostly with Reform rabbis). Even if we were to discard past accusations of Antisemitism and his defense of Farrakhan – what business does a Jewish PAC have supporting him?

J Street also supported Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, one of the most widely recognized anti-Israel members of Congress. With a +3 rating by the Arab American Institute, Dingell voted No on withholding US contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes, on opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, and Absent on a bill to ensure that United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund terrorist entities in Lebanon. What point is J street making by giving him PAC money, and why are they so happy he won?

LITTLE ACTUAL INFLUENCE

The above short list demonstrates rather well J Street’s agenda in these elections, but the fact that candidates they supported have won does not mean that the organization’s contribution actually got them over the threshold.

J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, boasted in an email sent out to thousands with the subject line “Astounding! J Street Goes 71 for 70 on Election Day,” but with respect to Jewish voters—whom J Street claims it represents, and whom it is trying to persuade—in very few of the campaigns in which it contributed heavily did the Jewish voters who were in play make a difference.

In an upstate New York race, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) was defeated by the man she herself had defeated two years ago, Dan Maffei. J Street backed Maffei, but the hot issue in that race was abortion, not Israel. Maffei successfully tied Buerkle to Missouri’s Republican contender for Senator Todd Akin, notorious for his unfortunate “legitimate rape” comment.

In Florida, Republican Rep. Allen West was defeated by Patrick Murphy in an extremely tight race. West was redistricted out of his comfortable seat, and Israel was far down on the list of issues on which Murphy focused.

In Illinois, Democrat Tammy Duckworth defeated sitting Congressman Joe Walsh. Walsh is an ardent Israel supporter, but the district they battled over is a majority Democratic one, and Duckworth had received the endorsement of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The focus of her attention was energy, the economy and education – not Israel.

And in Ohio, where Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown handily won over his upstart Republican challenger Josh Mandell, a New York Times editorial written by Mitt Romney back in 2oo8 probably did more to defeat any Ohio Republican challenger for office in 2012. In this state, second only to Michigan for auto-related employment, Romney’s opposition to the automobile industry bailout and his op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” was just too much of a kick in the home state face to overcome. Even though what Romney actually called for was a re-structuring of the car companies, a “managed bankruptcy,” the details were swept away while the headline hung there and hanged the Republicans.

It is clear that J Street’s role in this year’s election was basically irrelevant, and certainly far humbler than its own superlative: “astounding.” While revealing just how unabashedly anti-Israel their choices are, Ben-Ami et al simply have not demonstrated that they mobilized the Jewish vote in a direction it wasn’t already following.

DISMAYING POLL RESULTS

The Republican Jewish Coalition also released poll results, in which they tracked the same few Jews, in virtually the same ways, and received pretty much the same results.

In the broadest terms: Obama won. He won big amongst Jews. No argument from either group. According to the RJC, Romney received just under 32 percent of the votes cast by Jews, according to J Street, Romney received 30%. Not such a big difference.

Where the information and the analysis did begin to differ, was in determining whether there was a significant decrease in Jews voting for Obama this election, versus 2008. While most agreed that Barack Obama received approximately 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008, J Street is now claiming that a more recent calculation revised that number downwards to 74%. With the four fewer percentage points in 2008, and a two point lower estimate in 2012, the differences become more significant.

If, as the RJC claims, there was a 10% increase in Jews voting for the Republican presidential candidate, which amounts to a 50% gain (22% of American Jews cast their vote for McCain in 2008, and 32% of American Jews cast their vote for Romney in 2012), that reflects a recognizable and significantly growing trend, albeit with only two data points.

If you accept J Street’s sudden revision of historic facts, claiming that a greater percentage of Jews cast their votes for the Republican candidate in 2008, and, consequently, that somewhat fewer Jews voted for Romney this time around, the loss of Jewish voters to the Democratic candidate becomes only four percentage points, which means that over the lifetime of Obama’s “blocking back,” J Street, there have not been nearly as many Jews jumping from the Democrats’ ship.

Either way, of course, far fewer Jews cast their votes for President Obama this time around, and either way, of course, President Obama remains in office for four more years.

First, the information provided by the exit polls paints an alarming picture, even without looking at whom the respondents chose.

For Jewish Press readers, there’s a frightening picture that calls out for action: American voting Jews don’t care all that much about Israel, and they really don’t care about Israel’s number one concern: Iran.

The J Street and the RJC polls asked the question slightly differently, but either way, only about 10% of American Jews consider Israel to be an issue that drives their voting decisions (J Street poll), and for more than 21% Israel is of no importance in making the decision for whom to vote (RJC poll). To look on the bright side, slightly more than 75% consider Israel to be either very important (30.2%) or somewhat important (46.3%). But still, we are talking about Jews here, not the general public.

The denominational breakdown between the two polls is of vital interest: 11.9% of the RJC poll respondents identified as Orthodox and 31.1% identified as Conservative, while only 10% of the J Street poll respondents identified as Orthodox and 27% identified as Conservative. In both polls the largest denomination was the Reform movement.

Only the RJC poll asked about synagogue attendance, but the responses there were interesting. Slightly more than 25% of those answering the poll claimed they attend synagogue almost every day or once a week, but 13.9% said they never attend, and nearly 2% refused to answer the question.

One quirky finding is who received high favorability ratings. President Obama garnered a 60% favorability rating, the second highest of those included in the question (Bill Clinton received the highest). But Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a 59% rating, beating even Vice President Joe Biden, who came in with a 54% rating. And DNC Chair Cong. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had a 46% favorability rating — that’s far below any of the other Democrats, Netanyahu, or the Democratic Party as a whole.

Although Iran and Israel are not significant voting issues for American Jews, fewer than half of those polled think that sanctions and diplomacy as tools for dealing with Iran’s nuclear race should be given more time, and a full 35% think those methods have failed.

The RJC poll asked about respondents’ understanding of Barack Obama’s attitude towards Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Nearly 45% believe Barack Obama is more pro-Israel, 22.8% more pro-Palestinian, and 17.4 believes he is neutral, while a full 15.3 either refused to answer the question or said they did not know.

So, strangely enough, while J Street cannot show serious influence in this election, essentially cheering races that would have been won without them – the overall picture emerging from the polls of Jewish voters’ attitudes are an icy shower to American Jews with traditional Jewish values.

Yori Yanover contributed to this article.

Jewish Support for Obama Dropped, Just Not Far Enough

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In a series of exit polls conducted during Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the Republican Jewish Coalition found that Jewish support for the President dropped from 78% in 2008 to 69%.

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the RJC said, “The results demonstrate that President Barack Obama and the Democrats saw a significant erosion of support from 2008, while Republicans continued their trend of the last several decades of making inroads in the Jewish community.”

According to the RJC, there was an increase by nearly 50% of the number of Jews choosing the Republican candidate to run this country.  The percentage of Jews voting Republican jumped from 22% to 32% nationally.  This ten-point gain is the largest leap from the Democratic party by Jews since 1972.

In a call today to members of the media, former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer pointed out that while the percentage of young and of Blacks voting for Obama dropped by three or four percentage points, the 10 % drop amongst Jewish voters is conspicuously large.

The survey, a national sample of 1000 Jewish voters, as well as a 600-person sample of Jewish voters in Ohio and a 600-person sample of Florida Jewish voters.

“The RJC is encouraged by the gains we made in 2012 and by the continuing movement in the Jewish community toward the GOP. Despite the discouraging election results, we’re pleased by the gains we have made in the Jewish community,” said Matt Brooks.

Of the 1000 voters in the national poll, 48.9 % said they are Reform Jews, and only 11.9 % are Orthodox, while about 20 % said they attend synagogue at least once every week.  Almost 14 % said they never attend synagogue, even for the high holidays.
For 21.5% of those polled, a full 21.5 % said that Israel is of no importance to them, while 76.5% said they consider Israel to be either very or somewhat important.
Only respondents who said they were Jewish were included in the poll results.

Next Year in Jerusalem: Obama Wins Second Term

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

It’s been said that if Obama wins, that would be a big push for Aliyah.

I’m not sure how that works out considering the fact that 70% of Jews who voted, voted for Obama. I guess it’s that 30% that might be considering their options.

And how timely is that!

Nefesh B’Nefesh is going to be working overtime this winter.

If you were thinking about Aliyah, and now considering it more seriously, talk to NBN now to ensure you can get a seat on that plane.

So, if “Change” has morphed into “Forward,” let “Forward” morph into “Eastbound.” It’s time to come home.

Tell them Jameel sent you.

 

 

[Editor's Note: 60%-40% was updated to 70%-30% based on the latest exit polls of Jewish voters.]

In Battleground State Ohio, Jewish Voters Favoring Obama According to AJC Poll

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

An American Jewish Committee survey of Jewish voters in Ohio, a battleground state, has the community favoring President Obama in similar numbers to polls elsewhere.

The survey released Wednesday by the AJC has Ohio’s Jews favoring Obama 64 percent to 29 percent for Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate.

With a 6.4 percent margin of error, the numbers are commensurate with two other AJC polls last month that had Obama beating Romney 69 to 25 percent among Florida Jewish voters and 65 to 24 nationally.

As in those polls, the economy and health care topped voters’ concerns.

The phone survey of 238 registered Jewish voters in Ohio was conducted Sept. 13-30 by QEV Analytics.

The survey does not take into account any changes resulting from the recent presidential debate between Obama and Romney.

Malkah Fleisher contributed to this report

At DNC, Focus Is On Jewish Swing Voters As Key To Obama Election Win

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jewish swing voters could make or break President Obama’s bid for reelection.

At least that’s the case that Democratic Party leaders made in a training session that packed one of the larger halls at the convention center here on Monday, the day before the formal start of the Democratic National Convention.

It came with a message delivered to Jewish volunteers at the convention in Charlotte: Some Jewish voters matter more than others. And when it comes to issues, Israel is especially important – but don’t forget domestic policy.

At the session, Jewish public officials such as Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) shouted out the party’s new Jewish tagline: “I’m here because I’m a Jew and I support the president and I support Israel.”

Both parties are aggressively targeting Jewish voters in swing states. Next week, the Republican Jewish Coalition will conduct a voter outreach drive in South Florida, Cleveland and Philadelphia. The blitz, part of an overall $6.5 million RJC effort to sway Jewish voters, will be based on prior polling that will “micro-target” Jewish undecideds.

Despite their relatively small number in America – approximately 2 percent of the population – Jews remain a key electoral demographic.

Ira Forman, the veteran Jewish Democrat who has been running Obama’s Jewish outreach campaign, listed seven states – Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and Michigan – where a 10 percent swing among Jewish voters could change the election.

A drop in support for Obama from the approximate 75 percent of the Jewish vote that he received in 2008 to 65 percent this year would cost him 83,500 votes in Florida, 41,500 in Pennsylvania and 19,000 in Ohio, according to Forman. The figures were based on educated guesses about eligibility and voter turnout.

The most recent Gallup tracking polls of Jewish voters, from June and July, had Obama at 68 percent of the vote – ahead of the 61 percent level at which he was polling in July 2008, when he was facing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The speakers at Monday’s event said that swing voters tended to be exercised by concerns about Obama’s Israel policies, though their principal concerns are about the economy, health care and social issues like abortion rights.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the DNC chairwoman and the party’s highest-ranking Jewish member, said Republicans hammer on the Israel issue because the Republican Party has little common ground with Jewish voters on domestic policy.

Republicans cite changing Jewish demographics and voter patterns – including the increasingly large Orthodox community, which is more politically conservative than other Jewish denominations – as evidence that this is no longer necessarily the case.

Based on Monday’s training session – similar to a number that Democrats say the party has held throughout the swing states – it’s clear the campaign waged by Republicans to depict Obama as lacking commitment to Israel has had an impact.

For the Israel argument, Democrats unveiled an eight-minute video titled “Steadfast” that features an array of Israeli leaders, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, extolling what is depicted as an unprecedented level of cooperation on defense and intelligence sharing with the Obama administration.

Also featured in talking points handed out to attendees are the Obama administration’s efforts to isolate Iran in a bid to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program, including intensified sanctions.

Republicans acknowledge the close relationship between the Israeli and U.S. administrations on defense, but say Obama has undercut its benefits by making public his disagreements with Israel over peacemaking with the Palestinians. They also say he has not made it sufficiently clear that Iran could face a military strike from Israel or the United States if it does not cooperate.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has suggested he would not stand in the way of an Israeli strike, while Obama administration officials have spent recent months in intensive talks with Israelis hoping to head off such a strike.

Indeed, Wasserman Schultz, in making the case for Obama’s Iran policy, repeated a talking point that distinguishes the Democratic position, which counsels military force as a last resort: She praised Obama for “making sure that all options are on the table, but making sure that the military option is the last, not the first, one.”

Is Ryan Good for the Jews? Make that ‘Are the Jews Good for Ryan’

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The selection of Paul Ryan, with his proposals for a trimmed-down federal budget, may not bode well for the Republican ticket among Jewish voters, wrote Josh Nathan-Kazis in the Forward.

He pointed to Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, in the heart of Jewish South Florida, which he says could be a key neighborhood in the presidential race.

But one early attack in a congressional race in a heavily Jewish Florida district suggests that Democrats will use Ryan’s proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security to bolster Democratic support among Jewish voters.

Lois Frankel, the Democrat running for the 22′s congressional seat, sent a press release just hours after Ryan’s appointment to be Romney’s running mate, tying her presumptive Republican opponent to Ryan’s proposed entitlement cuts.

Florida is the largest of the swing states, says Nathan-Kazis, and its Jewish voters will have a huge impact on the presidential election.

Jonathan S. Tobin is not convinced. Democrats shouldn’t count on the Jews flocking to Obama so easily.

First, he argues, the Jewish voters who fear changes in Mediscare are voting for Obama regardless of Mitt’s pick. On the other hand, those American Jews who consider Israel’s security a major agenda in casting their votes will not favor Obama. “Voters who believe the president will sell out Israel are not the most receptive audience for a Democratic campaign based on the idea that Romney and Ryan will sell out the elderly,” Tobin writes.

“The issue was not whether Obama could hold onto more than 50 percent of Jewish votes, but how much of the 78 percent he got in 2008 would he be able to retain,” he points out. “The most optimistic estimates of the Democrat vote will keep him in the mid-60s, with his share of Jewish ballots in Florida probably being even lower.”

Ronn Torossian of Rightwingnews.com points out that Ryan has co-sponsored pro-Israel legislation, and has been very outspoken against Hamas.

He cites from Ryan’s website: “I believe at least one thing is clear: we cannot advocate for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that jeopardizes Israel’s safety or legitimizes terrorism. Hamas, which is one of the two major Palestinian political factions, is an Islamist terrorist group whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, refuses to recognize Israel’s existence, and calls Osama Bin Laden a ‘martyr.’”

Torossian also frames the Obama vs. Romney race as being one of secular vs. religious values: “The biggest response from the crowd today during his speech came when he said: ‘Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.’”

Interestingly, the NJDC is framing the competition similarly, except that the values it points to are not so much secular vs. religious, but the more vague non-Jewish vs. Jewish.

Their press release, titled “NJDC on Ryan Pick: Clearest Proof Yet Romney Does Not Reflect Jewish Community Values” reads:

“Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan to serve as his vice presidential candidate is the clearest indication yet that Romney does not reflect the values of most American Jews. Ryan’s signature budget plan drew the profound concern and even ire of many in the American Jewish community because of its plans to end Medicare as we know it, slash vital social safety net programs, and increase the burden on seniors, the middle class, and the poor—yet Romney today proudly hitched his horse to Ryan’s dangerous plan. This alarming partnership between Romney and Ryan will further reinforce the reasons why such a significant majority of American Jews will be voting to reelect President Barack Obama this November.”

You’ll notice the absence of any reference to Israel, Iran, Palestinians and other characters in the other story which is of interest to U.S. Jews.

The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake made no bones about Ryan’s staunch politics regarding the rest of the world, in his report “Defense Hawks, Rejoice—Paul Ryan’s Your Man!

“The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon, said he was ‘very happy’ with the Ryan pick. McKeon said he has worked closely with Ryan to come up with ways to at least put off what is known as the sequestration cuts, and he praised the Wisconsin lawmaker for his overall philosophy in defense. ‘He understands the Reagan principle of having a strong defense and the Eisenhower principle of having a big enough military that no one would ever think about attacking you,’ McKeon told The Daily Beast.”

Except that, with his reputation as budget slasher, it’s difficult to envision Ryan embarking on making America’s military even bigger. Or, maybe, once in office, Ryan will trade the Congressional Republican view on curbing costs for the Dick Cheney school of the Imperial Presidency and start borrowing till it hurts.

If you ask me, after all the above quotes are copied and pasted, the Romney appointment of Paul Ryan is still a sign of weakness. Normally, a Republican candidate would want to appoint a VP that’s a bit to the left of him, to attract the independent voters at the center. The fact that Romeny chose to appoint someone to his right, politically, suggests that his own pollsters have been telling him that the home base is less than enthusiastic about the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts.

The fact that Romney picked a Catholic for the VP slot could mean either that the evangelicals no longer fear and loath Catholics (fat chance), or that Barack Obama gets four more years at his current residence.

And that, finally, is not very good for the Jews.

Gallup: Obama Jewish Support at 64 Percent

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Gallup has started tracking Jewish voters for the 2012 presidential elections, and its findings are commensurate with other polling, with President Obama enjoying a 35 point lead over Mitt Romney.

The poll of 576 Jews culled from the pollster’s daily tracking of registered U.S. voters from April 11-June 5, found that Jewish voters favored Obama over the former Massachusetts governor and all-but-certain Republican nominee 64-29.

With a margin of error of 5 percentage points, that’s a statistical dead heat with recent polls commissioned by the left-leaning Workmen’s Circle, which had Obama-Romney at 59-29, and by the American Jewish Committee, which had them at 61-28 percent.

It also is commensurate with polling in the same period by Gallup during the 2008 election, when Obama vs. John McCain, the then GOP candidate, scored 61-32, 57-35 and 62-31 in April, May and June of that year, respectively.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/politics/gallup-obama-jewish-support-at-64-percent/2012/06/10/

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