A Republican group backed by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has unleashed a new campaign in battleground states to "convert" Jewish voters who have been life-long Democrats and who it is thought can be convinced to turn their backs on US President Barack Obama in favor of US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a New York Times report published on Wednesday.
Adelson has vowed to invest as much as $100 million to help Romney win the election.
In the near future, the Republican Jewish Coalition plans to begin a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign dubbed “My Buyer’s Remorse,” which will focus on voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, aides told the Times.
According to the report, the campaign will use testimonials from voters who supported Obama in his first election, but now say they regret having supported him because of his economic policies and what they characterize as his hostility toward Israel.
The goal of the campaign is to try to cut into the wide lead Democrats have over Republicans among Jewish voters.
Adelson's effort parallel a recent visit by Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks and GOP strategist Ari Fleischer to Israel to support the IVoteIsrael campaign, which aims to register as many as possible of the 150,000 American citizens in Israel who are eligible to vote in the November 6 election.
In their efforts to recruit Jews to the Republican side, Fleischer cited polls in the The Jerusalem Post going back to June 2009, which found that only a small percentage of Israelis considered the Obama administration more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.
“The polls in The Jerusalem Post reverberated around the Jewish community in America,” Fleischer said. “They were an early warning signal in the US that there were cracks in Obama’s armor. In 2009 American Jews were so pro-Obama. Israelis saw the cracks first, and now the American Jewish community is going through a significant case of buyer’s remorse.”
Despite Fleischer's comments and the various above efforts to recruit Jewish voters, Sheldon Schorer, spokesman for Democrats Abroad-Israel, said the polls described don't provide an accurate picture of Jewish voting patterns since the poll "apparently questioned mostly Republican voters, and does not accurately describe true voting preferences. In 2008, the voters polled [now] said that they voted for McCain 2 to 1 over Obama, although the actual vote was 78%-21% in favor of President Obama."
Schorer added that, “I believe that the upcoming election will show a similar strong showing for the president. Only those people who are irrevocably prejudiced against him will fail to recognize that President Obama has proven himself to be a strong friend of Israel and that Israel would benefit from his reelection.”
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.