Obama's Jewish problem: It's the substance, stupidIn the Wall Street Journal, Start-Up Nation co-author Dan Senor explains how Tuesday night's election results in NY-9 show that Barack Hussein Obama has an uphill battle to win Jewish votes and Jewish funding in 2012 (Hat Tip: Zvi S).
New York's special congressional election on Tuesday was the first electoral outcome directly affected by President Obama's Israel policy. Democrats were forced to expend enormous resources in a losing effort to defend this safe Democratic district, covering Queens and Brooklyn, that Anthony Weiner won last year by a comfortable margin.Read the whole thing. Senor goes through a long list of affronts that Obama has directed at Israel and the Jewish community, and I am sickened by every single one of them.
A Public Policy Poll taken days before the election found a plurality of voters saying that Israel was "very important" in determining their votes. Among those voters, Republican candidate Robert Turner was winning by a 71-22 margin. Only 22% of Jewish voters approved of President Obama's handling of Israel. Ed Koch, the Democrat and former New York mayor, endorsed Mr. Turner because he said he wanted to send a message to the president about his anti-Israel policies.
This is a preview of what President Obama might face in his re-election campaign with a demographic group that voted overwhelmingly for him in 2008. And it could affect the electoral map, given the battleground states—such as Florida and Pennsylvania—with significant Jewish populations. In another ominous barometer for the Obama campaign, its Jewish fund-raising has deeply eroded: One poll by McLaughlin & Associates found that of Jewish donors who donated to Mr. Obama in 2008, only 64% have already donated or plan to donate to his re-election campaign.
Unfortunately, however, I fear that Senor is reading too much into the outcome of NY-9. But first, let's address Senor's statement that 'only 64%' of Jewish donors who donated to Obama in 2008 have already donated or plan to donate to his re-election campaign. It's now September 14, 2011 and the election is still 14 months away. Is 64% all that bad for this early in a campaign? I don't know. But I would want to see comparable statistics from other campaigns to get an idea of how bad that is. Bush 2004? Clinton 1996? Anyone have numbers.
Now, let's get back to NY-9. NY-9 is one of the most heavily Jewish districts in the US. 40% of its voters identify themselves as Orthodox Jews. That's an awful lot of voters who are going to be predisposed to vote Republican - even if the Democratic candidate is an Orthodox Jew even if he had not supported gay marriage in the State Assembly (which he did). I doubt it's indicative of what the Jewish vote in South Florida or suburban Chicago or even other parts of New York and New Jersey might look like in 2012. And I doubt there are a whole lot of Orthodox Jews who are big Obama donors (other than S. Daniel Abraham, can anyone name one?).
So yes, I hate Obama and I'm thrilled to see him defeated in New York. But I'm afraid that Dan Senor is reading too much into it.