The Jerusalem Post cites a new Gallup report about the impact of religious faith on attitudes to the presidential candidates. One interesting fact, which you sort of have to dig to get to, is that American Jews haven’t liked a Republican as much as McCain in over two decades. Since the report divides everyone up between people who “see religion as important in their daily lives” and those who do not, and does not give us the overall total about the Jewish electorate, we will have to fill in the key details with a little guesswork.
According to the poll, Jews who do see religion as important make up 39 percent of the Jewish vote. Of these, 45 percent support McCain, and a similar number for Obama. Now, in the other category (which is no higher than 61 percent of Jews), Obama trounces McCain, 68 to 26 percent. So, if we take 45 percent of 39 and add it to 26 percent of 61, we arrive at the following figure: About 33 percent of Jews support McCain. Now, compare this with the 24 percent that Bush got of the Jewish vote in 2004, and you have an important indicator of where Jewish instincts are today compared with four years ago. And here’s another interesting fact: This is basically the same figure of Jewish support for McCain in the last Gallup report, published two months ago. Meaning: Nothing, not Hillary’s dropping out, not Reverend Wright, not Obama’s multiple press conferences on Iraq — none of these have changed Jews’ opinions of the candidates.
Is this because Jews are continuing their gradual shift to the right, or because McCain somehow appeals to them in a way that Bush could not? Or are they just more scared of Obama than they were of John Kerry? I’m interested in comments on this one.