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September 12, 2003 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-12

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so much of their money comes from,"
Ginsberg said. "Dean has found a dif-
ferent funding formula; he does not
depend on big Jewish donors to any
degree. That leaves him freer than any
of the other Democrats to appeal to
the party's left."
If Dean gets closer to the nomina-
tion, "he'll have to Clarify his views
and presumably be less 'evenhanded,'"
Ginsberg said. "But right now, he's
being tactically clever."
In the long term, that could hurt his
presidential chances and play into the
hands of the Republican strategists
who have been shopping for Jewish
voters, Ginsberg said. "Pro-Israel Jews
have incredibly long memories," he
said. "If it was possible for
Republicans to kvelh they'd kvell"
about Dean's surprising ascendance.
But Steven Grossman, a national
co-chair of the Dean campaign and
former president of the pro-Israel
lobby in Washington, said the attacks
on Dean were a "sign of desperation"
by his Democratic rivals, especially
Lieberman. Grossman said Dean's
comments were taken out of context
by the other campaigns.
Dean, he said, "has said many
times, and very clearly, that he recog-
nizes and supports what he terms the
`historical special relationship' the
U.S. has with Israel. And he recog-
nizes the American role as guarantor
of Israel's security."
But Dean is also critical of the
Bush administration's failure to play
the role of active facilitator in resolv-
ing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
Grossman said. "He believes the U.S.
has another important role to play.
And whether you use the phrases
`honest broker' or 'facilitator' or 'cat-
alyst,' we have a responsibility and a
role to promote direct talks between
the parties," he said.

Jewish Voting

The infighting among Democrats
about Israel policy was welcome news
for Jewish Republicans, who contin-
ue to predict a record Jewish turnout
for George W. Bush next November.
New, but incomplete, polling data
suggested the shift was bigger than
reported in the 2002 midterm con-
gressional elections.
Data leaked to the Associated Press
last week suggests that exit polls from
those elections, suppressed because of
major computer difficulties at Voters
News Service, show a higher-than-
reported Jewish vote for Republican
candidates.

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The data was put aside after the
VNS election night fiasco, but
recently it was reviewed by a panel of
academic experts, who recommended
that it be released to the public.
According to the data, the
Republicans made big gains in over-
all voter identification and among
women. And, according to the exit
polls, which dealt primarily with
votes in House races, 35 percent of
Jews said they voted for Republican
candidates — a big jump from earlier
national averages ranging from 21 to
26 percent.
"This data simply confirms what
we have been saying all along," said
Matthew Brooks, executive director
of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
"Jewish voters are increasing their
support for the Republican Party.
Like other minorities, they resent
being taken for granted and ignored
by the Democrats."
Jewish voters, Brooks said, increas-
ingly "support Republican leadership
on foreign policy and a broad range
of other issues. We are seeing a major
shift in American political party
alliances, and we expect these
realignment trends to continue."
But other sources suggest the
Republican claims were premature.
"The numbers are still under lock
and key," said Mark Mellman, a top
Democratic pollster and consultant.
"It's not at all clear if these reports
are accurate."
Mellman pointed to the method-
ological problems that torpedoed
VNS exit polls on election night,
2002, and said several members of
the VNS consortium, including
ABC, "didn't want to put their
name" on the recompiled data
"because they didn't have confidence
in the project."
Mellman said a Jewish-GOP shift
in congressional elections "could be
true. But I wouldn't go to the bank
on it. It may be higher than it's been
in the past, but it's not a revolution
in Jewish voting behavior."
Another top Jewish Democrat was
more downbeat. "If it's true that the
Jewish Republican vote has gone to
35 percent, that would be a very
alarming figure," the source said. "It's
a problem we're going to have to
address with a lot more energy."
The data has been donated to the
Roper Center for Public Opinion
Research at the University of
Connecticut and the University of
Michigan, which is keeping the
details secret until it is offered on
CD-ROM for $95. LI

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