The recent Dick Morris opinion poll demonstrates that traditional long-standing
Jewish support for the Democratic Party has eroded dramatically.
an extraordinary demonstration of loyalty to the Democratic Party that
notwithstanding Barack Obama’s questionable attitude toward Israel, long-term
association with a despicable anti-Semitic pastor and close relationship to
prominent Arab-American PLO activists and far-Left ideologues, 78 percent of
American Jews still voted for him. Admittedly, Obama subsequently dissociated
himself from and zigzagged around some of his initial anti-Israeli policies. But
had a conservative candidate with such dubious political associations stood for
office, the vast majority of Jews would certainly have blackballed
Obama overcame this because of the profound attachment of American
Jews to liberalism, which, for many, almost represents a secular religion.
Historically – and particularly since the Franklin Roosevelt era – the
Democratic Party has cultivated and welcomed Jews and other minority groups into
its ranks, whereas the Republican Party had been inclined to snub them. In
relation to the Obama presidential candidature, there was the added Jewish
reluctance to vote against the first African-American candidate.
more than any of his presidential predecessors, Obama is perceived by many as
radiating hostility toward Israel’s prime minister while remaining reluctant to
condemn Palestinian extremism and intransigence.
Yet the media insist
that the majority of American Jews steadfastly continue to support him. Only
last month, the JTA reported a Gallup poll with the headline: “Jewish approval
of Obama is unaffected by Israel tensions.”
Meanwhile, another poll by
Luntz Global on behalf of CAMERA confirmed that Jews regard Palestinian
incitement – the “culture of hatred” – as a major obstacle to peace, and
concurred that Israel “should refuse to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority
until Hamas renounces terrorism and officially recognizes Israel’s right to
exist.” Eighty-five percent believed that the Israeli government was committed
to establishing a genuine peace with the Palestinians, and that Israel was
“right to take threats to its existence seriously.”
An earlier American
Jewish Committee survey also found that 76% of American Jews believed that “the
goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories, but rather the
destruction of Israel.” And 95% endorsed the proposal that in any final peace
agreement, the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Jewish voters stood by Obama despite this exemplifies the intensity of American
Jewry’s attachment to liberalism and provides credence to suggestions that in
determining political allegiances, most regard Israel as a low
However, it would seem that the confrontation between Obama and
Netanyahu and the bipartisan support Israel then received in Congress did have
The tough resolutions subsequently carried overwhelmingly by
the House of Representatives (407 out of 435) and the Senate, warning the
Palestinians that they risk losing US aid if they persist in their intransigent
approach, would have reinforced this.
THE CHANGE would also have been
spurred on by the Obama administration’s recent decision to engage with the
jihadist and violently anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood, creator of Hamas, whose
spiritual head, the 84- year-old Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, calls on the faithful
“to kill Jews to the very last one.”
The poll undertaken by Dick Morris
and published on his website, The Hill, reflects a seismic Jewish shift away
from Obama. While the majority would still vote for him, his 78% support from
2008 has declined to 56%.
The poll disclosed that Jewish Democrats are
now evenly divided as to whether Obama “is being too tough on
Morris maintains that the principal catalyst for this was
Obama’s recent demand that Israel accept the ’67 borders and swaps as a
benchmark for the opening of peace negotiations. In the poll, 83% of all Jews
opposed his proposal.
Furthermore, 67% of Jewish Democrats agreed and
only 13% opposed the proposition that “if the Arabs lay down their weapons,
there would be no more war. It is just their desire to destroy Israel that
creates a conflict.”
THE BELIEF that many Jews are deserting Obama was
echoed by noted political analyst Ben Smith, who wrote in Politico that even
enter-Left Jewish supporters of Obama were “fearful for Israel at a moment of
turmoil in a hostile region where the moderate PA is joining forces with Hamas”
and “say to their astonishment that they will consider voting for a Republican
This suggests that, contrary to the liberal chatter that
downgrades Israel as a major contributing factor it obviously remains a key
issue to many Jews, and does influence voting patterns, especially if the Jewish
state is perceived as facing genuine existential threats.
support for an incumbent president can decline from 78% to 56% over the course
of just two years signals a dramatic change in lifelong voting behavior and
suggests that if Obama continues to pressure Israel, he may lose Jewish support
in a number of key electorates. More importantly, if Jewish Democrats, whose DNA
inhibits them from supporting a Republican candidate become sufficiently
outraged with Obama’s policies, they will be inclined to curtail their crucial
financial contributions toward his reelection.
Much will depend on the
extent to which Jewish leaders find the courage to criticize their president on
this issue, instead of remaining silent out of fear of losing access to the
Of course, the political orientation of the Republican
candidate will also have a major impact. He/she may be totally supportive of
Israel, but if perceived as a radical right-winger, many lifelong liberal Jews –
even if they despise Obama’s policies – will either continue voting for him or
simply not vote. Reagan obtained a record 39% of the Jewish vote because he was
perceived as a moderate.
Sarah Palin is utterly committed to Israel, but
many liberal Jews are unlikely to vote for her under any
That extends beyond the Jewish vote and represents the
dilemma currently confronting the Republican Party.
A Tea Party candidate
would enjoy enthusiastic support from devotees, but may alienate the ‘swing’
voters who often determine the outcome of elections.
The Morris poll
should overcome the prevailing feeling of helplessness nurtured by the liberal
media, which trivialize the impact that Obama’s selective bullying of the Jewish
state is having on Jews, and mistakenly suggest that nothing can deter Jewish
voters from supporting the Democrats.
It demonstrates that, whereas more
than half of American Jews continue to support Obama, many committed and younger
Jews have shifted their allegiance. Furthermore, there is every likelihood that
unless the administration adjusts its policies, the swing away from Obama will
intensify, and could be highly damaging to the Democratic