Jewish support for Obama evaporating?

posted at 10:41 am on June 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

This can’t be right.  Barack Obama says he knows more about Judaism than any other President before him, despite all evidence to the contrary.  However, The Hill reports that a recent Gallup survey shows a double-digit erosion in his support among Jewish voters, a potential red flag for his re-election prospects:

President Obama’s support has dropped by double digits among Jewish voters from 2008, but he still earns more than double the support of challenger Mitt Romney among American Jews, according to a new survey from Gallup.

The president is the choice of 64 percent of Jewish registered voters, versus 29 percent for Romney. But that equates to a 10-point drop for Obama among Jewish voters from November 2008, and a six-point pick up for Republicans. And while some of that can be explained by Obama’s slipping numbers across all demographics, the rate at which Jewish voters are defecting from the Obama campaign — and signaling support for Romney — exceeds national averages.

Romney has put considerable pressure on Obama for the Jewish vote:

Romney has made a major play for Jewish voters this cycle, criticizing the president’s stance on Israel and playing up his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The men have known each other for nearly four decades, when they both worked at a Boston-area consulting firm together.

Still, Obama carries a 35-point lead among Jewish voters who could play an important role in November’s contest. Since April, 83 percent of Jewish voters surveyed by Gallup say they definitely will vote, exceeding the national average of 78 percent among all registered voters.

Some of this could be attributed to Obama’s demonstrations of hostility towards Netanyahu (and perhaps Netanyahu’s responses to them), as well as a perception that Obama favors the Palestinians.  Obama fumbled the American side of the negotiations early in his presidency by inexplicably making housing expansion in Jerusalem a make-or-break issue, a point that the Palestinians hadn’t made.  Once done, though, the Palestinians couldn’t retreat from Obama’s position, and the change has made further negotiations impossible.  Obama then made it worse the next year by demanding a return to pre-1967 lines, a position Israel wants to reserve for direct and serious negotiations rather than a starting point.

The incompetence in which Obama has handled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might not be the only problem for Obama among Jewish voters.  Many religious leaders in the Jewish community have joined Catholics and other Christians in opposing the HHS mandate for contraception and sterilization, especially in its application to religious schools, charities, and health-care providers.  The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest organization of rabbis in the US, officially resolved itself against the HHS mandate a month ago and has been vocal about its opposition ever since.  That was not entirely done out of ecumenical brotherhood (although that was certainly one of the motivations), but also because the HHS mandate will force Orthodox Jewish organizations to violate their own tenets of faith:

There are many cases in which the HHS regulation would coerce a Jewish employer into violating his conscience. Perhaps the most readily apparent problem from an Orthodox Jewish perspective is the regulation’s requirement that sterilization procedures be offered by employer-provided health insurance plans. (Jewish law usually prohibits sterilization.) The regulation also mandates that employer-provided plans provide their employees with a drug called Ella. Ella can be taken several days after conception and therefore cannot honestly be called a contraceptive, which by definition prevents conception. It is actually an abortifacient, a drug which causes an abortion. While abortion is a complicated topic in Jewish law, it has been generally prohibited by Jewish authorities from the most rational to the most mystical, from Maimonides (Code of Maimonides, Laws of Kings 9:4) to the Kabbalah’s most famous work, the Zohar (Exodus 3b). Even actual contraceptives are only allowed in certain circumstances. Some contraceptive methods are simply prohibited. In these circumstances the regulation would require an Orthodox Jewish employer to break the law, violate his conscience, or shut down his business. The government should not force this choice upon any American.

The regulation intrudes on religious liberties even in situations where the underlying drugs are religiously permitted. The circumstances in which Jewish law allows these drugs are complex and dictated by specific conditions. A mandate that requires an employer to distribute these drugs in every situation, without rabbinic guidance, intrudes on the relationship between rabbi and congregant. The Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment were intended to protect that very relationship from governmental interference. The Orthodox Jewish position involves nuance, and the administration’s refusal to grant religious waivers sends a clear message that nuance in this area is not welcome. Refusal to amend the regulation would send a clear message that these Orthodox beliefs are illegitimate and undeserving of basic constitutional protection.

This looks like a problem for Obama that crosses all lines of faith.  In the latest one-week totals from Gallup’s tracking poll on presidential approval, approval among those who attend religious services on a weekly basis has dropped to 36%, the lowest it has been since January — before the announcement of the HHS mandate.

Obama will still win the Jewish vote, and probably handily.  However, Romney has already narrowed the gap, and if Obama doesn’t change direction on the HHS mandate and/or repair his approach to Israel, he’s not going to get the kind of enthusiasm and activism he needs to overcome his deficits in other demographic categories, or win wide victory he needs to win the overall election.

Update: Jeff Dunetz says this will matter in critical states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — but not nearly as much as the damage Obama has done to his standing among Catholics.


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No, “mad” is…you know…going around calling people who disagree with you nutball commie socialist bastard O-bot OWSer libtard concern troll Moby types. More knee-slappers, granted.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM

see…..you sound mad again.

Tim_CA on June 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Here’s why so many people supported and still support Obama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgfA2b9YSag

The Rogue Tomato on June 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

No, “mad” is…you know…going around calling people who disagree with you nutball commie socialist bastard O-bot OWSer libtard concern troll Moby types. More knee-slappers, granted.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM

You call them morons. What’s the difference?

Chuck Schick on June 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Oh, I might also add: we prevented a President Al Gore in 2000.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Awww, heroes :)….that definitely makes TN much more interesting in my books now, it has just moved from negative territory to 0.5 on a scale from 1 to 100 :)….

jimver on June 11, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Oh, I might also add: we prevented a President Al Gore in 2000.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Incorrect. It was Jewish seniors in Palm Beach and their mistakes on the butterfly ballots that prevented Gore in 2000. that was it. There were about 3000 votes that went for Buchanan that surely were intended for Gore (even Buchanan said this) and that was more than the final difference between Bush and Gore in Florida’s many recounts. That was what flipped Florida and gave Bush the election. America got lucky in 2000 and it was the only time that the Jewish vote really mattered, even if it was purely by mistake.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 11, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Stop explaining. You have nothing to defend or apologize for. In ddrntn’s case, the mask is just slipping.

/Jewish, conservative & proud of both.

Irritable Pundit on June 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

By the way, I keep hearing about this “mask” that’s supposed to slip off of me, but I’ve held the very same opinions ever since I registered at this site in late 2008. It’s the nouveau ‘bots who have the masks on.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Ah, I stand corrected. let me re-write my post with that understanding.

(ahem)

“Stop explaining. You have nothing to defend or apologize for. In ddrntn’s case, we are just realizing what an judgmental bore he is.”

You are right, that is much better. Thank you!

Irritable Pundit on June 11, 2012 at 4:01 PM

By the way, I keep hearing about this “mask” that’s supposed to slip off of me, but I’ve held the very same opinions ever since I registered at this site in late 2008. It’s the nouveau ‘bots who have the masks on.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

So who do you want to be president for the next 4 years – Romney or Obama?

Chuck Schick on June 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Jeff Dunetz says this will matter in critical states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — but not nearly as much as the damage Obama has done to his standing among Catholics.

Let’s not forget to throw in a healthy sprinkling of the protestants here too….and if I’m not mistaken…reaching out to black ministers of the Christian faiths didn’t go so hot.

It sure seems to me that if you’re not muslim…..the grand uniter has you in his sights.

Tim_CA on June 11, 2012 at 4:26 PM

I registered at this site in late 2008. It’s the nouveau ‘bots who have the masks on.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

And for most of that time you have been a nut.

You are the sophomore that gives noobs a bad name. Noob.

cozmo on June 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Israel will feel more love from the muslim brotherhood after Egypt’s elections this coming weekend.

GaltBlvnAtty on June 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Incorrect. It was Jewish seniors in Palm Beach and their mistakes on the butterfly ballots that prevented Gore in 2000. that was it. There were about 3000 votes that went for Buchanan that surely were intended for Gore (even Buchanan said this) and that was more than the final difference between Bush and Gore in Florida’s many recounts. That was what flipped Florida and gave Bush the election. America got lucky in 2000 and it was the only time that the Jewish vote really mattered, even if it was purely by mistake.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 11, 2012 at 4:01 PM

I’ve always considered those 3000 geniuses to be karma for the networks which caused GWB to lose an estimated 8,000+ votes net by prematurely calling the state for Gore because they forget that the Panhandle lies in a different TZ! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on June 11, 2012 at 5:18 PM

awwwwwww…..are you mad?

Tim_CA on June 11, 2012 at 3:38 PM

ddrintn, mad? What? Are you mad?

ddrintn is the smile on the Sun’s face, and if you don’t see that he epitomizes love & happiness, it must be because you are a dolt! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on June 11, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Update: Jeff Dunetz says this will matter in critical states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — but not nearly as much as the damage Obama has done to his standing among Catholics.

A Christie Veep nod and you can add NJ to that list, and make FL and PA likely GOP.

MJBrutus on June 11, 2012 at 5:47 PM

So who do you want to be president for the next 4 years – Romney or Obama?

Chuck Schick on June 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Neither. I’m not under contract to cheerlead for either party.

And for most of that time you have been a nut.

You are the sophomore that gives noobs a bad name. Noob.

cozmo on June 11, 2012 at 4:44 PM

A nut compared to you? LOL When Rick Perry exited the race your position as PerryKrishna Hall Monitor became redundant.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Um no. I never supported Perry’s presidential run. It’s just you Perry hatin’ nutballs that thought so.

You were just mad because all the nutball stuff you made up was so easily shot down.

cozmo on June 11, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Oh, I might also add: we prevented a President Al Gore in 2000.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

You don’t make any sense.

So it was important to stop Gore but not OBama??

YOu don’t think that Obama is much worse than Gore?

Plus I could make the argument that Romney is more conservative than George W. Bush.

LevinFan on June 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Neither. I’m not under contract to cheerlead for either party.

ddrintn on June 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

So you have zero preference as to who is your president for the next 4 years?

Chuck Schick on June 11, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Chuck Schick on June 11, 2012 at 6:19 PM

You could have stopped at zero. Its ddrintn.

cozmo on June 11, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Øbama is clueless with Israel. He doesn’t want a return to the 1967 borders, he wants a return to the 1867 borders. The Ø’s lighting of every candle on the menorah at the same time, complete with snarky remark, should tell Jews how clueless he is.

Mojave Mark on June 11, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Poor Ddrntn. Appears more people than ever realize just what a nutjob it is. Awww.

CW on June 11, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Well Sarah Jessica Parker is half Jewish, and not only does she support Obama, but I hear that’s she simply an amazing woman that anyone would die to sit next to at a lavish dinner. Besides, she said that if Romney gets elected, America will turn into a JudeoCatholoEvengelicoMormon theocracy.

ardenenoch on June 11, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Not all Jews are sheep.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM

I’ve met annoying stereotypical yankee liberal “Jews” like Schmuck Schumer, and been friends with mainstream American Jews, as different as night and day. Historically speaking however, you’ll have to admit that as a group they’ve been fairly easily led to slaughter. German cattle cars come to mind.

S. D. on June 11, 2012 at 9:11 PM

In what demographic is he NOT losing votes?

Grace_is_sufficient on June 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Still a lot of stupid Jewish voters out there. Liberalism is their real religion.

dukecitygirl on June 12, 2012 at 7:26 PM

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