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August 30, 2010

Obama and ‘The Jews’

Listed in: Israel, Other Domestic Policy, NJDC News, Opinions

Originally published in Politico’s Arena

By David A. Harris, President and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council

So much ink has been spilled regarding President Obama and the Jewish vote that you would think the ink well would have run dry by now. Yet there appears to be an abiding fascinating with this issue that our political chattering class simply cannot let go. In walked The New York Times’ Charles Blow recently with his own highly imperfect analysis, which conclusively only really demonstrated one thing: being a columnist does not necessarily mean one understands the intricacies of polling methodology and statistics.

Despite decades of at least every-other-year debates about whether Jews are moving towards the GOP (and over-the-top claims from the right that “the time has finally come”), now—courtesy of Gallup—we have some clear-eyed information.

Per Gallup, throughout the Obama administration, American Jews have remained consistently more supportive of President Obama than other Americans—and the margin of additional support that Jews give him (13-14 percent above all Americans) has remained constant since the beginning of his term. This despite the headlines regarding supposed snubs, various circulated myths surrounding relations between this administration and Israel’s leaders, and the hard work on all sides that has brought us to the eve of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians set to begin next week.

These facts—and a genuine disinformation campaign by the right against this president within the Jewish community, and efforts by right-wing organizations covered in POLITICO and elsewhere to use the U.S.-Israel relationship as a political football—make these findings all the more significant.

Does any of this mean you’ll hear any less about how the Jewish vote is “in play?” Of course not. And are there American Jews who voted against this president and continue to oppose him? Sure. But combined with the fact that today’s Republican Party is getting farther and farther from the hearts and minds of the vast majority of American Jews, these findings remind us of one thing: American Jews remain overwhelmingly Democratic, and overwhelmingly—and consistently—supportive of President Obama.