If you didn’t know yet how out of touch the president is, his Friday “[private sector] doing fine” comment just said it all. Now, compare this with his charm offensive paragraph, he continuously uses when he address various Jewish groups. “If during this political season you hear some question of my administration’s support for Israel, remember that it’s not backed up by the facts,” Obama said in his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in March, “There should not be a shred of doubt right now: When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”
Backed up by facts? Well, Liz Cheney summed it up best when it comes to the President’s record, to his Middle East policies and relationship with Israel. “There is no president who has done more to delegitimize and undermine the State of Israel than President Obama,” Cheney said, to huge applause from the 13,000 attendees at the Washington Convention Center.
Five months before election day, President Obama leads a new poll of swing states, from Purple Strategies, by 2 points over Mitt Romney overall. But Romney has taken a lead in crucial Florida and Ohio - in Ohio by 3 percentage points and in Florida by 4.
The poll confirms what has long been expected — a tight contest in which the redrawn political map will be a major factor. “This marks the first time since January that the candidates were within 2 points of each other in these critical purple states,” the pollsters wrote. “Despite still trailing, Mitt Romney has reached his highest vote total since our tracking began in September of 2011.”
A recent Quinnipiac poll had Romney leading the president in Florida by a 47-41 margin. In addition the latest Rasmussen poll of Likely Ohio Voters shows Romney with 46% support to Obama’s 44%.
Much of that can be attributed to the Jewish vote, both in Ohio and Florida, in which the Jewish vote makes up 5-8 percent of the electorate on Election Day.
Consistent with other poll data, President Obama now leads Mitt Romney among registered Jewish voters 64% to 29%, according to the latest Gallup poll. That’s a 14 point decline in support for the President since 2008, and a 7 point increase in support for the Republican candidate, since John McCain’s 22 percent on Election Day.
While Obama, now at 46%, is down among all registered voters by 5%, among Jewish voters he is down 10 points since Gallup’s last poll in 2008. According to Gallup, 83% of Jewish registered voters say they definitely will vote, which put’s Obama at around 60% of the vote, compared to Romney’s 30%. This is currently the highest portion of Jewish votes for a Republican candidate since Reagan in 1984.
In a press release following the Gallup poll results, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, “This poll is another sign of the erosion of support for Obama among Jewish voters. If the President wins just 64% of the Jewish vote, it would be a disaster for him and his party. Jewish voters are increasingly disillusioned with the President and that’s why Mitt Romney is making real inroads in the Jewish community this year.”
Jewish support for Democratic presidential candidates has exceeded 64% since 1988; Michael Dukakis took just 64% of the Jewish vote when he was soundly defeated by George H.W. Bush, the RJC notes. In 1992, Bill Clinton won 80% of the Jewish vote. In 1996, he was re-elected with 78% of the Jewish vote. Al Gore won 79% of the vote in 2000 and John Kerry took 76% in 2004. President Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008.
Another poll published last week by pollster Steven Cohen for The Workman’s Circle, shows President Obama with only 59 percent of the Jewish vote, compared with 27 percent for Romney. If the undecided vote were to split down the middle, the margin would be 68-32 percent, a far cry from Obama’s 78 percent Jewish backing in 2008.
Support for Romney by 32 percent the Jewish community could be a clincher, according to Tevi Troy, one of Romney’s senior campaign advisors on Jewish and Israel issues.
“If a Republican candidate gets in the 30s, they’re almost certain to win an election. If they get under the 20s, they’re almost certain to lose,” he was quoted as saying by the European Jewish Press.
“There’s this 28 percent spread, which I like to think about in terms of its Hebrew gematria (numerology), which is koach, meaning strength,” he continued. “This 28 percent shows the disproportionate strength of the Jewish vote given its relative numbers.”
While expressing confidence in Mitt Romney’s ability to make significant inroads among Jewish voters, Matt Brooks pointed out in a conversation with me last month, that in 2000, George W. Bush got only 19 percent of the Jewish Vote and narrowly carried Florida. And by the time of his re-election, with an overall 24% of the Jewish vote, the state of Florida wasn’t even close. However, he added, that “the more votes we take from the Democrat’s core base, the more it will impact the overall competitiveness of this race,” Brooks said.
If the final results indeed turn out to be closer to the 59 percent figure, Obama would receive the lowest percentage of the Jewish vote in a presidential election of any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, Jonathan Tobin notes in the Commentary Magazine.
“The pollsters insist, not without some reasons, that Israel does not appear to be a determining factor in the presidential vote. It bears repeating that the vast majority of Jews are not single issue voters on Israel and, like most Americans, will cast their votes based on other issues–principally, the economy.”
“If as the poll shows, the decline in Obama’s share of the Jewish vote is greater than the losses he is encountering in other sectors in national polls,” he continues. “Analysts need to ponder what it is about the president that is repelling a higher proportion of Jewish supporters to abandon his ship than elsewhere.”
“Because, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, this otherwise heavily liberal population is still steadfast in its support for Israel as well as sympathetic to its current government, it is not unreasonable to suppose that those sentiments have led them to be, at the very least, a bit less favorable to a president who spent his first three years in office picking fights with Israel. Like the rest of the country, more Jews are disillusioned with the president’s handling of the economy, but is that enough to explain a potential loss of almost a quarter of the votes he received four years ago?”.
Obama is certain he knows what’s good for Israel. Given his record and the Iranian threat, it’s an impossible sell, Michael Goodwin writes in an opinion editorial for Fox news, Portraying President Obama as “Israel’s worst frenemy.”
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