Jewish voters, staying in character

     

    Despite the plethora of polls which suggest that President Obama is cementing his lead – even Fox News shows him up by five points nationwide –  it’s way too early to assume that he has this election in the bag. But here’s one assumption you can take to the bank: Jewish voters will back him in a landslide. Again.

    Back in the spring of 2011, and again last autumn, Republicans declared that Jewish voters were finally poised – for real this time! – to desert the Democrats in droves and support the GOP in 2012. Republicans revive this prediction every four years, in the hopes that a Jewish surge in big states could make the difference in a cliffhanger election. This is a lot like the annual spring training prediction about how the New York Mets are poised to contend in the National League East. Put simply, the GOP’s quadrennial forecast is what rocker Keith Richard would call “legs in the air laughter.” I said so repeatedly last year.

    The Republican Jewish Coalition, which has predicted a Democratic Jewish exodus in every election cycle for the last 20 years, is still doing its darndest to make it happen. For weeks it has been running ads in big states with lots of Jewish voters – notably Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio – and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has been footing the bill. The latest ad was released today, and the gist is that President Obama has not been sufficiently obseqious to Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. The implication, as always, is that most Jewish voters rank Israel as their top issue priority, which, as always, is the RJC’s biggest mistake.

    Anyway, the verdict is already in. Back in the spring, polls showed that Obama would win 64 percent of Jewish voters, and that a generic GOP nominee would pull a mere 25 percent. And now that margin is even wider; according to Gallup (tracking Jewish voters from July 1 to Sept. 10), Obama’s share is now 70 percent, and Romney is stuck at 25. That’s roughly in sync with the September spread in 2008 (Obama wound up with 78 percent on election day). And when the votes are finally tallied 39 days from now, the latest Republican effort will have failed in similar fashion.

    How come? Because it’s Politics 101: Most Jewish voters are liberal on the key economic and social issues. There is no way they’d ever flock en masse to an ever-rightward Republican party that’s vowing to slash the safety net. The RJC can talk about Israel all it wants – and about how Obama is supposedly an irresolute ally – but that doesn’t mean squat when you have the likes of Paul Ryan on the ticket. Moreover, most Jews, given their history, instinctively support society’s underdogs. A guy like Mitt Romney comes off as the quintessential overdog.

    I could go on and on. In fact, I already have: Here’s a link to a freelance piece I just wrote about 2012 Jewish voters, for the Jewish Exponent’s autumn magazine. Digitally speaking, please turn to page 42.

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    Following up my post on Todd Akin:

    The GOP’s Missouri albatross probably didn’t help himself with moderate female voters yesterday when he said that his opponent, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, had been insufficiently “ladylike” during their debate. For McCaskill and her fellow Democrats (who recognize that a Missouri win would boost their prospects of holding the Senate), Akin will be the gift that keeps on giving. As for the Republicans, they may have no choice but to try and help the guy win – while holding their noses. As one GOP strategist told a reporter yesterday…and this was indeed the quote of the day:

    “He’s an idiot, and everybody knows it. But he’s our idiot, and he could be helpful to us – but only if they get him under control.”

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    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

     

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