Powered by WebAds

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Will the Jews vote for McCain-Palin?

The first night I walked into the dining room at Dad's assisted living facility, someone asked me whom American Jews in Israel were supporting for the US Presidency. I told them that polls taken in Israel show that McCain has the lead among American expatriates in Israel (the world's largest American expatriate community). Last night, there was a support group meeting for family members, and at the end someone walked up to me and asked what Israelis think of George Bush (the most pro-Israel President ever), and how they could support McCain (because the competition is Obama). It's obviously on everyone's minds.

While I believe that McCain-Palin will do better with Jews against Obama-Biden than anyone since Ronald Reagan against Dhimmi Carter in 1980, I believe that some predictions are way too optimistic. Like this one based on a poll from New York.

The Siena poll, one of the two key polls of New York state voters, has come out with its monthly snapshot of the presidential race in the Empire State. And it’s stunning. It is remarkable, though not eye-opening, that John McCain is now only 5 points behind Barack Obama, 46-41 – not shocking because polls have narrowed to similar margins in New Jersey. (It should be noted, however, that according to a Rasmussen poll released yesterday, Obama is leading in New York by 55-42.)

No, the shocking detail has to do with a wild, 35-point swing toward McCain among Jewish voters. Obama led among them by a margin of 50-37 in August. This month, McCain is actually leading Obama by a margin of 54 percent to 32 percent.

Siena polled 626 likely voters this month. Of those, according to Steve Greenberg, the spokesman for the Siena poll, 77 were Jews, or 12 percent of the sample. That is Siena’s best guess of the size of the Jewish vote in New York state in November. With a sample size that small, the margin of error for the Jewish voter sample is plus-or-minus 11 points.

That means the poll could be off by as many as 11 points in either direction — i.e., McCain could be leading by as little as 11 points or by as many as 33.

The only difference between the September poll and the August poll as a matter of methodology is that in September, Siena polled likely voters, whereas in August it only polled registered voters.

The poll could, of course, be an outlier. But if it even begins to approximate the truth, it is huge news. No Republican has scored more than 39 percent of the Jewish vote in modern times, and that was Ronald Reagan in 1980, following a series of missteps by the Carter administration. These sorts of numbers for McCain have implications in two other states particularly — Florida and Pennsylvania.

I'm afraid that SG&A is being way too optimistic about this one. Aside from the small poll size, there's another much larger distortion in the Siena poll, and I think the Siena people realized it because when I followed the SG&A link, the Jewish statistic wasn't there. The distortion is the following: The Jews who are most likely to be one-issue voters (i.e. vote based on who is best for Israel) are far more likely to be Orthodox than any other Jewish stream. New York has a larger percentage of Orthodox Jews than any other state in the US. And New York City and certain of its suburbs like the Five Towns on Long Island and a few towns in Westchester and Rockland counties (as opposed to Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Binghamton and other New York towns with Jewish community) probably have the largest percentage of Orthodox Jews among their Jewish denizens than any city outside of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. So if those 77 Jews in that Siena poll were from Broooklyn or Queens, it's probably (unfortunately) meaningless when it comes to the question of how Jews will vote in the US Presidential election.

Yes, lots of Jews will vote for McCain-Palin. But the Republican ticket is unlikely to win the Jewish vote by 22 points. They'd be doing well if they win the Jewish vote at all.

There's a similarly overly optimistic assessment here.


At 9:22 PM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

First, you know how we can be, still in love with Grandma and Grandpa's New Deal, we still have floating around somewhere in our being the Jewish History of Europe. So, if you talk about a majority of Jews leaving the Democratic Party, this will happen when the Jews leave Europe--when we figure out that we're still not wanted there.

But most important--it's not the Jews in New York, but the Jews in Florida that matter here. The descendants of the mountain folk in Pennsylvania and Ohio and Virginia are going to decide this election.

And so it's a matter of paying attention. Obama counts on the fact that no one pays attention. That's why he mocks the idea of a commission after he's made several proposals to create commissions.

That's why Gd introduced the Torah with fire and the sound of the shofar. Even then we had trouble paying attention.

I have every confidence we will figure it all out.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Orthodox Jews vote reliably Republican. The best predictor of voting behavior is how often one goes to church and synagogue in the U.S It bears out the truism that intensity of faith is related to conservative political beliefs. The less religious and the more secular a person is, the more they are on the Left. And the reason to treat this poll with skepticism is that most Jews are overwhelmingly secular and their faith is liberalism. not Judaism. A cynic might say if Hitler were alive today and running as a liberal Democrat, most liberal Jews would pull the lever for him. There's no reason to think most of them are not going to vote for Obama just because of the hostility of his inner circle towards Israel. Because in the end, its not Judaism that will determine how they will vote in the forthcoming election.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

This is one non-Orthodox Jew who is voting for McCain/Palin. How can any Jew vote for Barack Hussein Obama. That is like voting for Hitler.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Batya said...

How could you say:
"George Bush (the most pro-Israel President ever)"?

With friends like him...

If you take a good look at history (for you), memory (for me,) I'd guess that LBJ was more of a friend, though no US Pres was a real, true friend.


Post a Comment

<< Home