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Sunday, July 20, 2008

McCain leads by as much as 20 points - in Israel

Republican Presidential candidate John Sidney McCain leads by as much as 20% over his Democratic rival Barack Hussein Obama in Israel. That's one reason Obama will be visiting here on Tuesday. 23% of all Americans living overseas who are registered to vote live in Israel. And since Americans living overseas vote in the last state in which they lived in the US, Israelis hold what may be critical votes in states like New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois and Florida. The reasons for the antipathy Americans residing here in Israel feel towards Obama should be obvious. And while I should preface the results of the survey discussed below (Hat Tip: Hot Air) by saying that they are a survey of Israelis and not just of American-Israelis, if anything, American-Israelis tend to be more right-wing than their native neighbors. Israelis appear to share those concerns.
In the past month, one poll found 36 percent of Israelis preferred McCain, versus 27 percent for Obama, while in another, 46 percent of respondents said a McCain presidency “would be better for Israel,” compared to 20 percent who said the same about Obama.

Those results stand in stark contrast to public surveys conducted in most other nations. A spring Pew Global Attitudes Project poll of 23 foreign nations — not including Israel — on six continents found respondents in all but two countries had more confidence in Obama than McCain to do the right thing in world affairs, often by wide margins. (In the two outlying countries, Jordan and Pakistan, few people expressed confidence in either candidate.)

Obama’s support tended to track fairly closely with widespread distaste for President Bush’s foreign policy — which includes strong support for Israel in its conflicts with the Palestinians and Israel's Arab neighbors.

But that foreign policy has been embraced in Israel, where Bush remains a popular figure.

“Israelis see Bush as having been better to Israel than almost any president before has been,” said Albert Baumgarten, a Jewish history professor at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. Israelis, he said, “feel almost as if he’s their president.”

Baumgarten, a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen who’s supporting Obama, said Israelis believe McCain is more likely to continue pursuing the Bush administration’s foreign policy agenda.

McCain has received mostly positive coverage in Israel, both for his hard line on Iran and for his military service, including his time as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. That’s an experience valued by Israelis, who are required to serve in the country’s armed forces.

He’s also benefited from the support of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the former-Democrat-turned-independent, whose Orthodox Judaism and staunch support of Israel make him a popular figure in Israel. Some Israelis, said Jerusalem-based pollster Mitchell Barak, count against Obama “that the Democratic Party is not a welcome place for Joe Lieberman.”


Obama’s press coverage in Israel has not won him many friends. He got harsh treatment after backtracking on his declaration last month to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," and for saying he would meet without preconditions with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Obama plans to visit Sderot while he is here. But he also plans to visit Ramallah. While visiting Sderot and the Western Wall in Jerusalem could help Obama, if he lays a wreath at Arafat's mausoleum, his standing here will decline further. Unfortunately, his standing in Israel doesn't seem to be affecting his standing among American Jews - so far.
Obama’s likely to do well with American Jewish voters no matter what impression he makes on Israelis, asserted Walter Russell Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“American Jews almost always vote heavily Democratic, and my guess is that Obama will carry the American Jewish vote regardless of what his polling is in Israel,” he said.

A poll released on Wednesday by J Street, a self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace movement" polling firm, found American Jews favor Obama over McCain 62 percent to 32 percent. That’s a drop from the 79 percent of American Jews that exit polls showed voted for Al Gore in 2000 and 74 percent that voted for John Kerry in 2004.
Unfortunately, a lot of American Jews are physically incapable of pulling the Republican lever in the polling booth.


At 4:44 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

'Unfortunately, a lot of American Jews are physically incapable of pulling the Republican lever in the polling booth.'

That is the problem, in a nutshell.

What is their problem? Israel 'gets' it; Here? Dangerously oblivious to the facts.

American Jewry had better get a clue ASAP, or they will live to regret it.

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

American Jews will be physically incapable of anything if Hussein becomes President. The first group of people he will go after are the Jews.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The difference is most Israelis are NOT leftists. Unfortunately, the people running the country and the media are the type of people who would find Barack Hussein Obama very congenial.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


40% of Israelis are leftists. The difference is that unless you bury your head in the sand, you have to acknowledge some reality here. If nothing else, the searches when you go into a mall or a theater are a wake-up call.


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