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October 09, 2008 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-10-09

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as a secret Muslim, has hurt support
for the Democrat among Jews. "The
concerns about Obama — the issues,
the smears, the falsehoods — have
already been widely circulated and
are well known," said Mik Moore, who
runs JewsVote.org, an effort to get out
the Jewish vote among Democrats.
Matt Brooks, who directs the
Republican Jewish Coalition, said
his ads in Jewish newspapers in
swing states where Jews may make
a difference — particularly Florida,
Pennsylvania and Ohio — have raised
substantive questions about Obama.
Brooks cited Obama's emphasis on the
need for more diplomacy in dealing
with Iran and his bungled efforts to
explain his views on Jerusalem — and
Brooks predicted bigger gains come
Election Day.
"This poll is just another data point
in an ongoing series of polls that
underscore the tremendous problems
Barack Obama has among Jewish vot-
ers," Brooks said. Throwing Obama's
difficulties into even sharper relief is
that the poll shows Jews are consis-
tently liberal.
Jewish Democrats comprised 56
percent of the respondents in the AJC
poll. A majority of all respondents
— 47 percent to 42 percent, all Jews
— opposed "the United States taking
military action against Iran to prevent
it from developing nuclear weapons:'
a striking number in a community
where the organizational leadership
almost unanimously supports the idea
of keeping the military option against
Iran on the table.
Despite McCain's relatively stronger
showing, 54 percent of respondents
disapproved of his choice of Palin as
a running mate. Moore said those dif-
ferences would inform his effort to tilt
the undecideds toward Obama.
"The Sarah Palin choice was unbe-
lievably unpopular. That's just begin-
ning to sink in and have an impact
and will continue to have an impact in
weeks to come he said. Ira Forman,
who directs the National Jewish
Democratic Council, said he also saw
the "undecided" numbers as an obsta-
cle, but not an insurmountable one. He
noted that part of the poll, taken Sept.

8-21, was during McCain's post-con-
vention "bounce."
"The way national numbers move,
Jewish numbers move he said, refer-
ring to McCain's decline in recent
polls. The AJC poll surveyed 914 Jews
over the phone and had a margin of
error of 3 percentage points.

Among Other Findings:
• Orthodox Jews are voting opposite
the rest of the Jewish community:
Obama earned the support of just 13
percent of Orthodox Jews, compared
to 59 percent of Conservative Jews, 62
percent of Reform Jews and 61 per-
cent of those who identified as "just
Jewish!' McCain garnered 78 percent
of Orthodox Jews, against 26 percent
of Conservative Jews, 27 percent of
Reform Jews, and 26 percent of those
identifying as "just Jewish!'
• Obama is doing better among
Jewish women (60 percent) than
Jewish men (54 percent). For McCain,
it's the opposite: Thirty-five percent of
Jewish men said that they support the
GOP nominee, compared to 25 percent
of Jewish women.
•A majority, 56 percent, disagreed
with the statement that "there will
come a time when Israel and its Arab
neighbors will be able to settle their
differences and live in peace!' Thirty-
eight percent agreed.
Mark Mellman, a Democratic poll-
ster, also predicted that Obama would
make gains among Jewish voters by
Election Day.
He said it was unfair to compare
Obama with recent Democratic
candidates. Bill Clinton's respec-
tive opponents in 1992 and 1996
— President George H.W. Bush and
Bob Dole — did not have good rela-
tions with the Jewish community,
Mellman said.
Al Gore in 2000 tapped Joe
Lieberman, making him the first
Jew on a national ticket, and the cur-
rent President Bush was perceived as
polarizing among Jews when Kerry
ran against him in 2004, he said.
Referring to Obama's consistent 60
percent range, Mellman said: "It's still
well in the range that other Democrats
before Clinton have gotten." O

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