Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same Among Jewish Voters

According to new polling from Gallup, American Jewish voters, who have tended to overwhelmingly support Democrats in elections going back at least about a century, are no more likely to defect from the Democratic ranks should Barack Obama be the party's nominee rather than Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama is faring better than might be expected among Jewish voters, beating John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily general-election matchups and trailing Hillary Clinton only slightly in Jewish Democrats' preferences for the Democratic nomination.

[...]

In terms of the general election, Jewish voters nationwide are nearly as likely to say they would vote for Obama if he were the Democratic nominee running against the Republican McCain (61%), as to say they would vote for Clinton (66%).

[...]

According to Gallup's aggregated tracking data for all of April, 61% of Jewish voters would vote for Obama, much higher than the national average of 45% of all registered voters.

Rather than declining between March and April, support for Obama versus McCain among Jewish voters has increased slightly, from a 23-point margin in favor of Obama (58% to 35%) to a 29-point margin (61% to 32%).

The results are similar for Clinton, who received 66% of the vote from Jewish Democrats in April, compared with 27% for McCain -- a 39-point lead. Clinton led McCain by 29 points in March, 61% to 32%.

Gallup does not provide a margin of error for this aggregation of polling data, but doing the math it looks like the margin of error for this data is about plus or minus 3.5 percentage points -- meaning that the difference between the general election performance among American Jews between Clinton and Obama is statistically insignificant.

Now the fact that Obama beats McCain only by a 61 percent to 32 margin among Jewish voters might be a cause for concern for some. After all, John Kerry defeated George W. Bush by a 78 percent to 22 percent margin (.pdf) within this demographic in the two-party vote. However, it's well worth noting that polling at the outset of the Democratic race in late 2003/early 2004 showed Kerry, as well as most of the other Democratic contenders at the time, beating Bush among American Jews by only about 60 percent to 30 percent margin. Even Joe Lieberman only carried the Jewish vote in a hypothetical head-to-head match up at the time by a 71 percent to 24 percent margin. And as late in the game as September 2004, polling indicated that Kerry only led Bush in this subgroup by a 69 percent to 24 percent margin even though he ended wup winning by about a net dozen points more.

So when you actually delve into the numbers, it becomes clear that these numbers actually bode fairly well for Obama's chances among Jewish voters in November. What's more, these numbers seriously undercut the notion that Obama has a serious problem among American Jews resulting from false smear emails or whatever else.

Tags: 2008, Democratic primaries, Jewish Voters (all tags)

Comments

40 Comments

Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I am POSITIVE that the Rec. list Hillary crew will find a way to nitpick a these results.

Nice job (as always) Singer.

by cherrygarcia 2008-05-08 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

It's truly amazing that anyone could use this diary as an excuse to attack Clinton supporters. But then again, I suppose some people will find any excuse...

by LakersFan 2008-05-08 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I wish Jerome would start making threads like this.  Not everything needs to be anti-Obama.

by deepee 2008-05-08 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I saw the J in the name and thought it said Jerome at first...  then after reading the post I had to do a double take.  I almost thought he wrote something uncritical of Obama.

by recusancy 2008-05-08 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I think you can rest assured that will never happen. I don't think Jerome is capable of writing an uncritical post of Obama. No worries though. It won't make a whit of difference in the election. Hillary still loses no matter how many glowing posts Jerome writes.

by jadegirl 2008-05-08 10:43AM | 0 recs
Mojo (nt)

by lizardbox 2008-05-08 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

Thanks for an informative post.

by DeskHack 2008-05-08 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

This is now - wait until after the Republican machine ramps up.

I'll bet my house he does worse than Kerry with Jewish voters.  

While anecdotal, many of my Jewish friends are not comfortable with Obama and I don't see that changing.

He'll win the majority -- but he's not going to get enough in key areas like Florida that he needs (Florida is gone now with Obama).

All we can hope is MCain doesn't actively court them.

by GregNYC 2008-05-08 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I actually haven't been hearing as many concerns from Jewish voters as I used to.  I think some of the disinformation has been debunked, and well, ethnic pride forces me to claim that we're pretty savvy voters when it comes right down to it.

I'm not sure how much it matters outside of NY, NJ, and FL anyway, and the reason Obama will have a hard time in FL doesn't have nearly as much to do with Jews as it does with old folks in general.

I personally think my tribe will deliver for Obama.  After all, Barack is almost Baruch.

by Steve M 2008-05-08 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

Depending on how you spell it in Hebrew, Barack can mean "lightning" or "blessed." As a fellow MOT (member of the tribe), I tend to agree that the vast majority of us will turn out for Obama. I'm a Hillary supporter, but I'm a Democrat first. Most of my Jewish friends feel the same way.

by Not the only Dem in KS 2008-05-08 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Lightning

From Wikipedia:

Barak (Hebrew: בָּרָ— 1;‎, "Lightning"), the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, was a military general in the Book of Judges in the Bible. He was the commander of the army of Deborah, the prophetess and heroine of the Hebrew Bible. Barak and Deborah are credited with defeating the Canaanite armies led by Sisera, who for twenty years had oppressed the Israelites.

by Jonathan Singer 2008-05-08 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I think we are going to be looking at Reagan like numbers for McCain.

At my Pesach seder this year, which consisted of mainly Dems, a lot said they would vote McCain over Obama but Clinton over McCain.

by kydem 2008-05-08 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

What do you gather their main concern is, and do you think there is anything Obama could do that might address it?

by Steve M 2008-05-08 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I live in south Florida, which is heavily Jewish, and I haven't heard any overwhelming negativity towards Barack amongst Jewish people. I think that it is generational, however. Alot of the older Jewish folk are pro-Hillary and the younger ones are pro-Obama.

by april34fff 2008-05-08 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

I too am from South Florida and the older "less informed" Jewish community knows two "talking points" with Barack Obama, unfortunately they are Muslim, and cut off ties to Isreal. How do we show them the light? Any suggestions.....

by johnny sexton 2008-05-08 12:01PM | 0 recs
I hear a lot of concern from my cousins

who are over 50. It's not because they think he is a Muslim. They do question his commitment to Israel compared to McCain. They also believe that Obama will do worse among their Jewish friends than any recent Democratic nominee has.

I believe that in the end my cousins will vote for Obama, and I hope that they are wrong about their friends.

by desmoinesdem 2008-05-08 01:07PM | 0 recs
Jewish voters/Obama

Mazel tov Barack.

by mady 2008-05-08 09:54AM | 0 recs
Does this matter?

I'm Jewish and grew up in Florida, so here's a question.  Is there any state, other than FL, where these results will make a difference?  I mean this as a question, not as sarcasm, but I would guess there isn't another legitimate swing state where the differnce between 60-40 and 70-30 among Jews is going to matter.  I mean, even in a state where Jews are 10% of the population, this scenario only a 2 point swing.  Am I wrong about this?

As far as Florida, I have said for a long time that my belief is that Florida will not be the swing state in an Obama-McCain election.  If he wins FL, I think he wins several other states like OH, VA, CO, etc., so as to win a landslide.  And, like Kerry, if he loses, there will be other states that he came closer to winning that will pull him over the top.

by sasatlanta 2008-05-08 09:59AM | 0 recs
could be a factor in PA and OH

If Obama wins either of those states, it won't be by much.

by desmoinesdem 2008-05-08 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: could be a factor in PA and OH

This link estimates Jewish population by state:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsou rce/US-Israel/usjewpop.html

PA is 2.3% Jewish and OH is 1.3% Jewish.  A 20% swing, from 70-30 to 60-40 would mean 0.46% in PA and 0.26% in OH.  Even Florida is only 3.7% Jewish, meaning the impact would only be 0.74%.  Nevada has a 2.9% Jewish population, and that state may be ridiculously close.

Ultimately, I will be surprised if any state is determined by a swing in Jewish voters, though I agree there are some risks.

Not to minimize these, but I think these small numbers do suggest that he doesn't want to do anything to specifically appease Jews if it comes at the expense of any other segment of the electorate.  Unfortunately, we are just not a large percentage of the population.

by sasatlanta 2008-05-08 08:13PM | 0 recs
AND????

And what?

How is that to be interpreted, this poll is outright prejudice.

It assumes that Jewish people are monolithic and all think the same.

Did you guys know there are Jewish Republicans? (gasp)

This kind of poll does nothing but perk people's ears up and ask "Wow Jews aren't voting for candidate X, I wonder why"

I am so tired of all this class, religious and race crap.

Really, you guys are just encouraging these push pollsters to dumb down our voters.

by GeorgeP922 2008-05-08 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: AND????

Let me retract a little bit, since we dont have an edit button.

I am not mad at the Diary writer, just mad at the realities it professes.

It is just insulting to Jews whether it is true or not.

Look I am greek american, and I will call out my people for being overtly racist.  They don't do the dinner table thing, more the cocktail party thing.

People never stand up and say its unacceptable because hey, its the greek community, people like to hang out alot and tossing someone out is hard
(Im speaking more to my parent's generation)

But would I be pissed if there were a poll out there saying "Greeks rebound to Obama.  This dispells the idea that his blackness and their history of ethnocentric racism effected their vote"

The poll has some validity, but what does it prove, only that greeks can be viewed by the media as racist and low information voters, which is unfair because I am greek and and 100% the opposite.

Short end of story, stop putting people into groups and polling their opinion.  Your group doesn't define you, especialy if you are under 40, and born in this country.

by GeorgeP922 2008-05-08 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: AND????

Speaking as a Jew, I am proud that we are a group that's traditionally identified as part of the Jewish coalition.  In my book, a fundamental element of the Jewish tradition is the notion of social justice, and that leads us to identify more closely with the goals and beliefs of the Democratic Party.  We're not Democrats because we like the letter D, but because this is the party that corresponds with our values.

And of course there are Republican Jews, not every one of us shares the same values, etc.  But I'm still quite happy to have people note that this is how it shakes out on the whole.

by Steve M 2008-05-08 10:30AM | 0 recs
Heres a funny joke from Blue State land.

Heres a funny memory from Blue State land:

Ok, as I have said before, I grew up in Baltimore, had liberal values taught to me, was raised to think racism was wrong (went to school in 80's so it was revolutionary back then)

So I grew up thinking republicans were white only, generaly racist etc etc.

Then one day Im in college, and I am smoking something with my good Jewish friend.
Anyways he says "yea my dad is  republican"
I coughed and stammered "What?!?! I thought you guys were Jewish"
He says: Yea, were are, but he votes for Republicans.
Me: Really, really Wow.  I didn't think Jews were allowed to vote for Republicans.  
I thought republicans hated Jews and didn't let them or black join their country clubs.....
(I knew very little about AIPAC and other global political realities)

At this point I got uncomfortable, my friend was a liberal, but noone wants to hear negatives things about their parents.

Anyways, I hope my anticidotes were bearable in an otherwise unbearable topic.

I spent my whole first 22 years assuming Jewish people WERE monotlithic, and boy was I wrong.

by GeorgeP922 2008-05-08 10:19AM | 0 recs
another Gallup poll

Today's Gallup poll also shows that Obama performs as well as Kerry among white voters. Considering he overperforms among african american voters (even though Hillary seems to think they are not hard working and don't count), he will wipe the floor with McCain.

by jadegirl 2008-05-08 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

No, the Jewish vote is not a monolith... but it's also true that the Democratic coalition counts, in no small measure, on the fact that Jews, in overwhelming numbers, tend to be liberal and to vote Democratic. That's changed, somewhat, as especially Orthodox Jews tend to relate more to the new wave of conservatism in the GOP, and as more multicultural Democrats find themselves sympathizing with the plight of the Palestinians in discussions over Israel.

All of which is why, given that Obama comes more from the wing of the party that has been talking Palestinian issues, he has been having problems with older Jewish voters, especially in New York and Florida. I don't discount the notion that Jewish voters will vote Democratic over McCain, regardless of nominee... but given that Obama went to AIPAC at a key moment and said he was supportive of Palestinians and critical of Israel, he's made his own pot of hot water there, and that's never completely gone away. It may never. Though I think - and I think his people are smart enough to know this - he'll probably never again say anything but pro-Israel comments in public to counteract it.

Finally, the other thing is that the traditional "civil rights" connection between blacks and Jews has broken down considerably from the heights of the sixties. There is less shared identification and more feeling that separate injustices and separate grievances are important (the whole slavery vs. Holocaust debates). This is particularly painful and sensitive stuff, and it makes everyone uncomfortable... but the upshot is that a lot of traditional Jewish voters do not really sympathize with the current black experience; that's not helping Obama when he's seen as very much a part of the black community. And again, though I think the coalition will hold, it's entirely posible that Obama will see smaller levels of Jewish voter support than the Democratic coalition usually has. He can probably make it up... but Jewish voters going more heavily Republican has a lot of longer term implications.

by nycweboy1 2008-05-08 10:54AM | 0 recs
Another Poll of Jewish Voter says

100% of voter polled will not vote for Obama.

New Hampster:
"hello, this is New Hampster"

Caller:
"Will you, a Jewish voter, vote for Obama in November?"

"No"

by NewHampster 2008-05-08 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Another Poll of Jewish Voter says

Why? I'm curious, in this case, is it because you're a Clinton supporter and don't like the way the campaign has gone, or is it something specific to your identity as a Jewish voter?

I ask because, if it is something relating to you as a Jewish voter (Mideast policy, or the "Muslim smear," etc.) then I would be curious to know what it is, and how Democrats can assuage your fears and court your vote, and whether lessons learned from you could be applied to the Jewish community as a whole.

If it is something relating to your current support of Senator Clinton and the heat of the current primary fight, then other arguments (ie. McCain's foreign policy, McCain's lack of understanding of economics, McCain's lack of understanding of science, McCain's Supreme Court nominees) will hopefully be enough to convince you to stick with the Democratic Party in November.

by Fitzy 2008-05-08 01:01PM | 0 recs
Combination of all

But the really sad thing is that for the first time since I first voted in 1972, I will not be voting for the Democrat if Obama is the nominee.

I have no idea if I'll vote for McNasty or maybe Nader or maybe just stay home.

I just know that I cannot in good conscience vote for Obama because I feel he has lied to me, conned to the American people and run a campaign that Karl Rove would be proud of.  We could spend weeks on the subject and you'll never see the deceit because fundamentally, Democrats don't want to believe that one of theirs could be a lying cheater.

by NewHampster 2008-05-08 01:15PM | 0 recs
I'll answer your question

Obama was the member of a church who put out official writings that are as anti-semetic as you can get. Some of their literature says that the Jews are worse to the Palestinians then the Nazis were to the Jews during World War II.

Many Jews, like much of the rest of society, do not think its such a great idea to have a president with only about 1.5 years of practical national experience (the time he's actually been in the U.S. Senate not running for president) when we're in two wars and the economy might be at the brink of disaster.

If Obama is so great now won't he be much better in 4 or 8 years? Of course, it only makes sense.

You can only serve two terms, so why get Obama before he's all that experienced when he'll be brilliant and experienced in 2012? Just because we don't like Clinton's personality?

We like people who are over-qualified not under-qualified. The notion that Obama is as qualified as he'll ever be is ridiculous. He ran because the iron was hot and he was a hot property, not because he's at his best. He will not be at his best for some time to come. When that time comes he'll get all the support he needs.

As for now, if you insist on running Obama he will never be president as Democrats don't give you a second chance. Obama's best shot at the presidency is to be V.P. first or Governor. Right now he's too inexperienced and has too many troubling associations (more time will need to pass before he can win the presidency).

Next time nominate someone with MANY more years of experience at the national level.

by mmorang 2008-05-08 01:20PM | 0 recs
you should vote for our nominee

The Supreme Court hangs in the balance.

by desmoinesdem 2008-05-08 01:11PM | 0 recs
So what? I finally realized I don't care

My kids are adopted and I would love to see Abortion outlawed.

by NewHampster 2008-05-08 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

Obama is coming to Florida soon. On the urging of Rep. Wexler whom he met today in house. He will visit a synagoguae when he comes.

by MissVA 2008-05-08 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

by MissVA 2008-05-08 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

Clinton is Senator from NY.  A disproportionate share of Jews either live or lived in NY.  Clinton should have a big homestate advantage with these voters.  If you adjusted for the homestate advantage, I'd bet Obama does better with Jews than Clinton.

by soccerandpolitics 2008-05-08 12:41PM | 0 recs
Cynical Ploys

I expect the Republicans to attempt to use Israeli policy as a cynical attempt to lure some percentage of the Jewish American vote into their fold. The Ed Koch's of the world might oblige, but I expect there to be little other movement.

I think pressure groups like AIPAC force politicians to take stupid positions in order not to get smeared. Alienating allies and rewarding people that basically see you going to hell is not a recipe for continued success, however. And the weird policy consensus and narrow debate allowed in the corporate press isn't going to do a damn thing for those whom Israeli security is an important issue in an American election.

Perhaps John McCain will take Pastor Hagee's position to bulldoze the Dome of the Rock and build the third temple so Jesus comes and sends all the unrepentant Jews to hell. The Israeli government plays ball with Hagee's pressure lobby. And we should not be able to criticize them?

by wengler 2008-05-08 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton, Obama Perform Statistically the Same

So is Clinton picking up the "hardworking" Jewish vote? It just doesn't sound right when applied to any group, does it?

by anoregonreader 2008-05-08 12:32PM | 0 recs
Clinging toPre-Wright, Pre-Cling-to-their-Religion

and Pre-Ayers Obama.

How's he doing with the jewish vote now? How will he do once the Republicans put out ads showing all the anti-semetic writings of the church Obama was a proud member of for 20 years?

Let's review the demographics that the post-Wright Obama is having trouble with:

1. Hispanics

  1. Working-class whites
  2. Women
  3. Elderly
  4. People who don't think its wise to elect a rookie when we're in two wars and the economy is on the brink of disaster.
  5. People who don't think its acceptible to tar good and fine Democrats as race-baters when they are clearly not.

If anyone wants to know how the election will turn out in November but can't wait, just check out the 1972 election. Obama and George McGovern have the same coalition. Hint: it doesn't end well.

by mmorang 2008-05-08 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinging toPre-Wright, Pre-Cling-to-their-Reli

Dukakis, as Begala put it, had the eggheads and AA coalition. He won 10 states and lost big to George H.W. Bush.

Superdelegates have a chance to play God. Choose Obama and lose. Choose Hillary and win. Your choice.

by Nobama 2008-05-08 02:18PM | 0 recs
Not so fast

If Obama becomes the nominee, a whole bunch of stuff will come out against him. First of all, a bunch of Dems won't vote for Obama and some of them will be Jews. Hillary won the Jewish vote in a heavily Jewish county, Montgomery, outside Philadelphia.

Most of the Jews supporting Obama will be the far left anti-Israel types or young Jews who don't know any better.

Some interesting reading:

Obama's Jews: Yearning for Camelot

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c id=1209627032151&pagename=JPost%2FJP Article%2FShowFull

http://tinyurl.com/3rtyos

This Jew will have nothing whatever to do with Obama.

by Nobama 2008-05-08 02:14PM | 0 recs

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