Sabato Website: Jews Won’t Abandon Obama in 2012

President Barack Obama’s recent speech calling on Israel to accept the country’s 1967 borders as a starting point for talks with the Palestinians has raised speculation that Jewish voters could turn against Obama and the Democrats in 2012.
But such a scenario “is not very realistic for at least three reasons,” according to Alan I. Abramowitz, senior columnist for the Crystal Ball website of Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
First of all, political opponents — in particular, Hillary Clinton’s campaign — questioned Obama’s commitment to Israel in 2008. But Jewish voters still supported Obama in the general election at about the same rate they had supported other Democratic presidential candidates in recent elections.
One poll showed that 78 percent of Jewish voters cast their ballots for Obama over John McCain.
Secondly, Jewish loyalty to the Democrats is based largely on the liberal views of most Jews on domestic policy issues, Abramowitz asserts.
Between 1992 and 2008, 82 percent of Jewish voters interviewed in several surveys said they leaned toward the Democratic Party, compared to just 43 percent of all other white voters.
Jewish voters “hold solidly liberal views on a wide range of domestic policy issues, and especially on social issues such as abortion, that have undermined support for the Democratic Party among some of its traditional supporters,” Abramowitz writes.
Thirdly, the rightward tack of the Republican Party in recent years has made a significant shift of Jewish voters into the GOP camp highly unlikely.
Moderate-to-liberal Republicans including Nelson Rockefeller in New York and Edward Brooke in Massachusetts regularly won a large share of the Jewish vote, but in today’s GOP “there are almost no liberals or moderates,” Abramowitz observes.
He concludes: “There is almost no chance that the ultimate victor in the Republican nomination contest will be able to significantly increase the GOP share of the Jewish vote beyond the relatively small minority of conservative Jews who have been voting for Republican candidates in recent years.”


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