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November 5, 2014 2:27 pm

Democrats Claim Jewish Support Steady in Midterm Results, Republicans Stress Inroads Made Among Jewish Voters

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Democrats say Jewish support remained steady during the 2014 midterms, while Republicans insisted that more Jews were coming over to the GOP. Image: Twitter

The resounding victory by Republicans in yesterday’s U.S. midterm elections has again raised the question of whether the GOP can make significant inroads into the Jewish vote, as President Barack Obama enters the “lame duck” period of his final term in office.

Exit polls as voting stations closed last night showed a very slight dip in support for the Democratic Party among Jews. Sixty-five percent of Jews voted for Democratic candidates yesterday, with 33 percent voting for the Republicans. In 2010, the Jewish vote was split 66-31 in favor of the Democrats.

However, a poll commissioned from Democratic pollster Jim Gerstein by J Street, the liberal Jewish lobbying organization opposed to Jewish settlement in the West Bank, recorded a more definitive 69-28 percent split among Jews in favor of Democrat congressional candidates.

Interviewed by The Algemeiner, Gerstein said the numerical difference between his poll and the other exit polls was “small.” However, he said, “the demographic data that we have lines up assuredly with the 2013 Pew study of Jews in America, which has established itself as the gold standard. Also, our survey has a larger sample size of Jews when compared with the exit polls.”

Gerstein said that Jewish support for the Democrats remained steady, pointing out that in 2010, 66 percent of Jews voted for Democratic congressional candidates, a figure that rose to 69 percent in the congressional elections of 2012. Asked about Republican claims that the GOP was making progress on gaining Jewish votes, Gerstein said, “the data doesn’t support that.”

Jack Moline, Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), expressed satisfaction with the level of Jewish support for the Democrats in this years’ midterms. Citing the Gerstein poll, Moline told The Algemeiner, “I wish the rest of the country had followed suit.”

Addressing the contention that Jewish voters are increasingly disillusioned with the current administration’s approach to both the Israeli-Palestinian issue and the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, Moline said there were two conceivable explanations. “Either Jews who vote Democrat are satisfied that the US-Israel relationship is in good hands with the Democrats, or it means that there isn’t a compelling message from Republicans to convince Jews that there is a problem,” Moline said.

“Democrats are doing just fine with Israel,” Moline asserted. “It’s rhetorical nonsense that there has been damage to US-Israel relations.”

Moline also raised the recent controversy provoked by an article by Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, in which a “senior Obama official” described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit.”

“What the relationship is between two individuals, I can’t tell you,” Moline said. But he added, certain facts – for example American-Israeli cooperation over Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system – “show that their relationship is stronger than ever. Obama has built on the strong relationship that George W. Bush established, as Bush did in turn with Bill Clinton. This is a trajectory that has not been impeded – if anything it has been strengthened.”

Turning to the 2016 presidential election, Moline alluded to the possibility that Rand Paul, the Kentucky Senator who is widely portrayed as a foreign policy isolationist, may head the Republican ticket. There wasn’t “much daylight” separating Paul from former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat who, Moline said, had become a “pariah” in the Jewish community because of his hostile views towards Israel.

But that assessment was dismissed as “laughable” by Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC,) who told The Algemeiner, “Jimmy Carter is vehemently anti-Israel and pro-Hamas, while Rand Paul is strongly pro-Israel.”

“This year the GOP got 33% of the Jewish vote nationally,” Brooks said of the midterms. “This confirms, yet again, the unmistakable trend of increasing Jewish support for Republicans.”

A statement released by the RJC stated: “Since 1982, the historical average for the GOP in mid-term elections among Jewish voters has been 26%. The range has a low of 18% in 1982 and a high of 33% this year. In each of the last two midterm elections, Republicans got more than 30% of the Jewish vote.”

Brooks said that the RJC had countered J Street backing for Democratic candidates in 18 of yesterday’s races, winning 13 of them. That strong showing, he said, in part reflected that the messaging of Republican candidates spoke to Jewish concerns over the situation in the Middle East.

“Republican candidates spoke strongly on Islamic State and on the need for increased sanctions on Iran, and they condemned the comments reported in Jeffrey Goldberg’s article,” Brooks said, citing as an example a robust statement on the Middle East issued by Tom Cotton, the Republican candidate who won a Senate seat in yesterday’s critical race in Arkansas.

In that statement, Cotton condemned the “unnamed administration officials [who] disparage Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with vulgar ad hominem attacks,” and urged “President Obama to renounce these reports and disclose the names of these officials and fire them. Iran remains our worst enemy and Israel our closest ally.”

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  • HaroldT38

    Unbelievable that 66% of American Jews voted for Obama the second term, when his intent to destroy Israel was already so apparent.
    And that they still vote for his party !
    What has happened to the Jews of America ?

  • Don´t forget that a 60% of the monies raised by democrats still come from Jewish pockets and 40% of the dollars republicans get come from the same source. Mony talks, regardless of what is going on in Israel. Some Jews don´t back Israel´s policy and some don´t fell comfortable with their Jewishness all together. I foresee a slow but steedy switch from left to right in the American Jewish vote. Just look at Canada as a model!

  • Lynne T

    What this article and the opinion-offerers don’t speak to is how many Jewish voters who normally vote Democrat stayed at home rather than vote for the Republicans. Was the overall turn-out up,down or status quo?

  • thelma Rosenberg

    Maybe the pollsters have not taken into account Jews like me who have not bothered to change our registration from democratic to republican but at this time vote republican down the line in the privacy of the voting booth!

  • Murray

    The Jews that vote the Obama agenda are ethnic Jews but their religion is socialism.

  • I agree with Shosh. The Democratic party is hijacked and influenced by self loathing delusional ,J street supporters . I now trust the Republicans to support Israels struggle against adverse propaganda , twisted lies and the great universal effort of delegitimisation.

  • chebat

    Are the Jewish voters stuck with the Democrats? Just as Canadian Jews were stuck with the Liberal Party? In Canada, many a Jew votes for the Conservatives, without guilt feeling. Maybe the American Jews would be heard more attentively by the Democrats if their votes were not pavlovian.

  • chebat

    Are the Jewish voters stuck with the Democrates? Just as Canadian Jews were stuck with the Liberal Party? In Canada, many a Jew votes for the Conservatives, without guilt feeling. Maybe the American Jews would be heard more attentively by the Democrats if their votes were not pavlovian.

  • Yale

    It would be interesting to look at the results when uncontested races are excluded. Jews tend to live in districts that are often uncontested by Republicans, and since Jews tend to vote at a higher rate than other groups, their concentration in such districts would skew the results.

  • steven L

    American Jews from the left support a party that dumped them at the 2010 convention. American Jews who support the “democrat” party are antisemitic no matter what excuse they offer.

  • David

    Too many Jews are voting Democrat. I think that’s because most Jews live in Democrat majority urban areas and they are force fed the socialist bull from an early age. They’re all attending college and fancy schools; so smart, they’re stupid, blinded by theories, mugged by reality.

    The urbanized American Jews of NYC, Calf, Mass, and Florida are too worried about what other people will think or say about them. F em. Stop worrying what others say about you and start using your brains.

    I have a cousin who had his own insurance agency on Long Island. Idiot always voted D. For all his brilliance, when it came to politics he was (is) a f#€¥ng moron.

  • nelson marans

    Whether you can trust the numbers generated by differing polls, while the Jewish vote for the individual candidates may have remained essentially constant for Democrats and Republicans, I would trust that President Obama’s ratings and poll figures among American Jews would have changed considerably. His obvious hostility toward Benjamin Netanyahu and the current government of Israel has not gone unnoticed nor for the most part unreported. If a vote were taken currently, it would show a substantial reduction in his once overwhelming majority, despite the contentions of the anti-Israel J street spokesman.

  • Doesn’t anybody remember the Democrat delegates at the 2008 convention booing when the name Israel was mentioned at the podium? Don’t these voters see the trend change in the Obama administration’s attitude towards Israel and the ME in general?
    Unless and until Obama changes his thinking about who represents what in that fearful part of the world, we’re likely to see more “non-supportive” words and actions from the Obama administration towards Israel.
    Perhaps somebody will convince BO to actually READ the Hamas charter with its calls for Genocide against Jews!

    • Aimee

      I remember it, and I voted Republican across the board! Obama is dangerous, as are the Dems, and the country is finally waking up to that.

  • Dov

    The Jews are slaves to the Democratic party. I for one was one of those slaves too. Till this year and all years from now on. I and my entire family have turned and voted Republican.

    • Aimee

      Same with us! Any Jewish person who votes Democratic (my own family included) is voting against their own best interests. Period.

  • anon

    I don’t blame the Democratic party. My senator – Menendez of NJ – is a Democrat and he’s one of the biggest supporters of Israel in Congress. Corey Booker (who I voted for yesterday) is also extremely vocal in his support for Israel. He’s very against a deal with Iran. I think he was in a Jewish

    I think almost everyone in congress except for about 8 people (all of whom got money from J-street) is against lifting sanctions on Iran. Obama and Kerry are rogue on Israel.

  • Beverly

    Jewish…voted Republican…deeply resent treatment of Israel by Obama and fawning to terrorists….

  • The Wednesday New York Times report on exit interviews demonstrated once again the “Grand Canyon”-like gap between the two parties where social issues are concerned. Those who voted Democratic and those who voted Republican were as if from two different Americas. Jewry is guided by the Talmud and commentaries to empathize with Have Less human beings, and to act with cautious confidence in our ability to help G-d complete His (unknowable) Program for this world. In its Vision the program of the liberal sector of the Democratic Party comes much closer to Talmudic tenets than does the frightened, narrow, and self-advancing platform of the GOP. American Jews by a large majority grasped this decades ago.

    • Sam Goodman

      Art Shostak has it right.His comment was excellent.It described the views of Our faith to T.

  • NCS

    I stopped being a Democrat the first year I had to pay taxes. We as Jews have historically been philanthropic. I would rather choose my favorite charity than be handicapped by high taxes going to a bottomless pit.

  • Leila

    American Jews don’t give a damn about Israel. They are jews, but they feel separate from Israel, and have no loyalty to the Israel state.

  • Homer Jones

    You missed a key question…how many stayed home? I did.

  • Eric

    Seems to me 33%, when measured against the historic average, is fairly good. I can remember when it was indeed, routinely hovering around 20. I predict a slow, steady increase over the next few decades of Jews voting Republican. As for how the Jewish vote split for either party and its relationship to how the Democrats do on Israel, the answer is simple. A great many Democrats in Congress behave considerably more sensibly and rationally where Israel is concerned than Barack Obama does. Obama, thank G-d, is out in two years. Voters can see that and concentrate, instead, on how their own specific Congressperson does where Israel is concerned.

  • shosh

    The Jews are their worst enemies – voting for the Democra
    tic Party which is very different than the One during President Kennedy’s era and which is becoming very Antisemitic and Anti Israel.

    • aall55

      “The Jews are their worst enemies” : I have been saying these exact same words forever .

      It is difficult to fight for a people who don’t want to save themselves ,[or just “cannot” ?]

      The 60’s are no longer ,a lot don’t seem to understand that ,it is beyond my comprehension .

      Let’s hope that they won’t be the majority in 2016.

    • Agree. This President is no friend of Israel. His foreign policy is dangerous to all democratic countires. A life long Democrat, I have voted Republican for the first time.

    • BuckDePublick

      You are correct!

    • Efram

      You are right. However, the hypothesis that the GOP does not offer a positive enough message is also true. The GOP is almost monolithic in its support of Israel, and opposition to terrorism. For that it deserves respect and appreciation. However, the rest of its agenda is as anti-human as has ever existed in a major party. Blocking voters, advocating everything in favor of the wealthiest, owned by the Koch brothers, and forcing their religious agenda (anti birth control, anti science, anti reason) is not attractive for Jews, who believe in helping people not ignoring their plight and are inherent believers in education. So, the choice is a party which is friendly to Israel and antagonistic to terrorists, but would be happy to see the standard of living in the US continue its steady erosion; or a party which makes something of an attempt to assist people but is also systemically Antisemitic.

      It is a truly rotten choice! We need a new party in this country.

    • TheAZCowBoy

      Jews ‘Reap what they sow,’ any questions, Bubba?

    • oag

      Lets not confuse anti Semitism with legitimate critics of Israel and its right wing government

    • theo

      If 67 out of every one hundred Jews vote for Obama they must be the most obtuse lot imaginable and do not deserve to be quoted ever again
      I would have thought Jews are always ahead of the curve in summing up events – the canary in the coal mine ,as it were Quite obviously in America this is not so Jews support those who support using their children as human shields ,use hospitals and schools to fire rockets on civilians in Israel
      Shame on the American Jews – the 67% that is