Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz
President Joe Biden, joined by fellow-traveler, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, July 14, 2021.

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, founder and CEO of the group Democratic Majority for Israel, on Saturday told Politico he thinks “there’s absolutely no evidence” that Gaza is the Democrats’ biggest vulnerability (Why This Pollster Says the Press Is Wrong About the Politics of Israel).

“The reality is we’ve asked people whether they approve or disapprove of the way the president’s handling this war, and the truth is, the majority of people say they disapprove of the way he’s handling this war,” Mellman concedes. However, he says, “It has nothing to do with which side he’s on. The next largest number think he’s too pro-Palestinian, and the smallest number think he’s too pro-Israel.”


He adds that “the reality is, when we ask people whether they are more likely to vote for the president because of what he’s done in this war, more people are likely to vote for him than against him.”

Mellman offers a big-picture view of Joe Biden’s supposed problems in Michigan. “If you look at the exit polls, about 1% of the Michigan electorate is Muslim American,” he says, “So it’s large compared to other places.” However, he continues, “In Nevada, Muslims register 0% of the electorate.” Now, “the Jewish community in Michigan is about 2% of the electorate. In Nevada, it’s about 4% of the electorate. So, you have to look at this in a number of different ways.”

Politico’s Ryan Lizza asked, “You don’t see evidence that Israel is costing Biden there?”

“You don’t,” Mellman responded. “They’re not as pro-Israel as their elders are, those younger voters. We definitely have problems with them. But they’re not saying that they’re voting against Joe Biden because of this issue.”

As to the Arab American voters, “My point about them is that they’re a relatively small proportion of the electorate,” he reiterated. Also, he added, “It’s hard for me to understand, as an analyst, that a Muslim American is going to go vote for the Islamophobe-in-chief, Donald Trump, against Joe Biden,” and notes that Trump is “the guy who instituted a Muslim ban, the guy who wants to deport Palestinians when he becomes president. People aren’t going to vote for him.”


Mellman is very critical of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his attacks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “When was the last time an American leader has gone to a democracy and said, have an early election, because I don’t like the person who’s running your country? We tend not to do that.”

“There’s also the signal it sends to Israel’s enemies. … Hamas leaders pulled back from the negotiations, and said, let’s wait. Let’s not do the cease-fire because there’s a split coming between Israel and the United States. Well, imagine what’s happening now in Iran, with Hezbollah, with Hamas as well. What are they saying to themselves?”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Ca) suggested Biden is changing his policy on Israel because of states like Michigan, and the “uncommitted” votes there that protested the US approach to the Gaza war. But Mellman said the uncommitted vote “vastly overstated.”

“Every data journalist said this is no big deal. The Nate Silvers, the Kyle Kondiks, the people who focus on data said, ‘Uncommitted’ got 2.5% more in this year, with a huge campaign, than it did against Barack Obama when he had no opponent and nobody was asking for an uncommitted vote.”

Mellman’s group and other pro-Israel Democrats are engaged in efforts to defeat Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, two Squad members who are facing strong challenges in the primaries.

“And then you have a couple that don’t seem to be vulnerable, Rashida Tlaib, for example, doesn’t have an opponent at this moment. So not going to beat somebody with nobody,” Mellman says, suggesting the Squad may be smaller after November 5, but it won’t go away.


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