Could the Jewish vote go Republican this year? The answer, as always, is no, of course not. But President Obama has lost enough ground with Jewish voters to create some problems for himself in Florida, as Democratic pollster Doug Schoen explained on Newsmax TV:
One of Obama’s biggest hurdles: capturing Florida’s Jewish voters. The president, polls show, has about 60-65 percent of the Jewish vote, but, says Schoen, if Obama does not win “a full 75 percent…it could, in fact, be decisive.”
The state is “effectively deadlocked,” said Schoen, the author of Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond.
“Jews are necessarily torn, because they see the president as somebody who, aspirationally, has committed himself to Israel,” he said. “At the same time, there have been concerns about the settlement policy and also about the nature of his commitment to do whatever it takes in Iran.”
The familiar debate about the Jewish vote is reigniting now that Romney is visiting Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition is kicking off its swing state campaign. As Jonathan wrote earlier today, the New York Times reports the RJC is reaching out to Jewish voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, in an effort to chip away at Obama’s support base. The majority of Jewish voters still back Obama, but his poll numbers have dipped significantly since 2008:
The group, the Republican Jewish Coalition, plans to begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in the coming weeks called “My Buyer’s Remorse,” targeting voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, aides said. The campaign uses testimonials from people who say they regret supporting Mr. Obama because of his economic policies and his posture toward Israel, in hopes of cutting into the wide advantage Democrats have held over Republicans among Jewish voters.
Obama will have a difficult time countering the RJC campaign, as he seems to be lacking in the pro-Israel surrogates department at the moment. Even Obama’s own supporters don’t seem to be denying he’s bad for Israel anymore. J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami told the Times that “The people who vote only on Israel didn’t vote for Obama last time and know who they are voting for already.” So there you have it, directly from J Street. If you judge the president on his Israel policy, you probably won’t support him.