EDITORIAL: Obama’s chutzpah / More Jewish voters are leaning Republican this year (WASHINGTON TIMES) 05/31/12)
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Barack Obama claims he knows more about Judaism than any other
president. Despite this boast, Republican challenger Mitt Romney is
on track to get the largest proportion of Jewish votes of any
Republican since Ronald Reagan.
During a meeting Tuesday with leaders of the Jewish Conservative
movement, Mr. Obama said he had been reading up on the religion and
further based his claim on the fact that he had a lot of Jewish
friends in Chicago. Of course, he also was close friends with his pro-
Hamas pastor Jeremiah Wright and domestic terrorist William Ayers,
but why muddy the narrative with facts? Mr. Obama complained that top
Republican leaders are never questioned about their commitment to
Israel, but this is because they have been consistently strong
supporters of the Jewish state, unlike the current administration.
The recent spate of Jewish-themed White House events is a response to
some troubling poll numbers. A survey released last month by the
Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) showed Mr. Obama’s support
in the Jewish community - while above the national average - is
softening and is far below the level enjoyed by Democratic
predecessor Bill Clinton.
Mr. Obama has less support from Jews than any Democrat in recent
political memory. Sixty-two percent said they would vote for Mr.
Obama in the 2012 presidential race versus 30 percent for a
Republican. This is notably lower than the 77 percent support Mr.
Obama received in 2008 and below Jewish vote percentages for John F.
Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000.
Jewish Republicans are fewer in number and approach politics
differently from their Democratic co-religionists. They rate support
for Israel (37 percent) and religious observance (24 percent) as the
qualities most important to their identity, in contrast with
Democrats who place commitment to social equality first (54 percent),
with Israel and observance down the list at 15 percent. Political
conservatives are more likely to attend synagogues, which tracks the
trend in the general population that the more religiously observant
are less likely to support Mr. Obama. Likewise, Jews and non-Jews who
are concerned about Israel give Mr. Obama much lower marks.
As with the general population, the economy is the No. 1 issue among
Jewish voters. The PRRI study showed that Mr. Obama’s “most important
failures” have been inability to improve economic conditions, not
providing strong leadership and increasing government spending. When
asked generally about the Obama administration, 35 percent said they
were excited or satisfied, while 59 percent were disappointed,
worried or angry.
Most worrisome is that many Jews seem to be giving up on the very
idea of America. Forty-five percent said they thought the American
dream of bettering oneself no longer held true, while an additional
10 percent said it never did. Just 19 percent think their children
will be better off financially than they are. The Romney campaign
slogan, “Believe in America,” is aimed directly at these types of
disenchanted voters. (© 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. 05/31/12)
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