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April 18, 2010

Jews As Democratic As Ever

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

Originally published in Politico’s Arena

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


This week we learned that American Jews are still voting as Democratic as ever. So why is that newsworthy?

When it comes to the Jewish vote, every election cycle we hear again and again from Republican Jews, the GOP and analysts that the sky may finally be falling for Jewish Democrats—and that Jews are finally trending Republican. Yet it never happens. Given recent news cycles in which there’s been a clear (albeit discrete) disagreement between the Administration and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the chorus of claims that Jews will desert the Democratic Party has grown louder—including earlier this week, on the eve of the special congressional election in Florida’s 19th congressional district.

Now we have analyzed the data in the FL19 special election—in the most Jewish congressional district in the country—thanks to a new white paper issued Friday by the non-partisan Solomon Project. And now we see some solid proof: American Jewish voters remain as Democratic as ever, when we compare the numbers to previous elections. The Republican in this race attacked Ted Deutch on health care reform, and Ted Deutch did not criticize President Obama when it comes to Israel. Yet according to this non-partisan study, not only did Congressman-elect Deutch finish just several points behind the overwhelming support figures for President Obama and seven-term-incumbent Rep. Robert Wexler in the general electorate, Deutch actually appeared to run best in the most Jewish precincts in his district (where he in some cases bested the previous Jewish support figures for Obama and Wexler)—demonstrating yet again how American Jews are remaining solidly Democratic right now.

Conservative analyst Michael Barone said it best when he examined this race and predicted, “There’s likely to be very little falloff in Democratic percentages among Jewish voters.” I couldn’t agree more, and now we have hard data to support what we’ve know and observed, election cycle after election cycle.