The Jewish Vote

The Jewish Vote

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


It began in conversations over meals during the holidays, then came the results of the AJCommitte polls, and then it went to a Q & A session following a recent speaking engagement. Finally, it was topped off by Mike Allen’s interview with Sheldon Adelson in Politico. The bottom line appears to be from this potpourri of random, quasi-scientific observations, and listening that one gets a sense of how Jews are heading to vote this fall.

Curiously after much hoopla, at this juncture– and baring an attack on or from Iran—President Obama’s vote from American Jews should not decline more than 6% from the 74% he won last time and Romney should not gain more than 4% from the 21% that John McCain won in 2008. A swing of 5% to Romney in Florida would be about 40,000 additional votes which the Obama campaign should be able to more than offset with increased Latino support.

The switchers are, for the most part, more observant Jews and those for whom the critical issue in their voting is perceived support for Israel by the two candidates.  What is interesting is that it seems that within this population group, because of the primacy of Israel in their calculations, the seniors in this group seem to deny many of the challenges being raised about how a Romney Administration might affect them and their health and social service needs.

As far as the AJCommittee poll it was a study that had too small a sample too large an error factor to be credible. There is a question about why they invested money in the study as it makes them lose credibility for much of their annual analysis which had gained widespread respect both within and outside the Jewish community.

As far as Jewish money—which is flowing into both sides–Mike Allen’s interview with Adelson, which is part of his on-going series of interviews with mega-donors, should be read in its entirety. Adelson, whose donations could reach $100 million, is totally candid about how he sees the election, the Obama Administration, and his comfort with giving millions of dollars to Romney and pro-Romney super PACs: “I put money where my mouth is”, says Adelson. He explains his five goals in unabashed terms:

1.Self defense. Protecting himself and his financial interests from what he believes would be mischievous prosecution by the Obama Justice Department

2. Friends in High Places: To protect the safety and security of Israel

3. Loathes Obama

4. Efficiency on the Right

5. Empowering Small business

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