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Israel Factor: Where’s the Romney lead?‎

by Shmuel Rosner

June 17, 2012 | 1:56 pm

Mitt Romney (Photo: Reuters)

It’s gone. The Romney lead is gone. Our Israel Factor experts, like it or ‎not, have given President Obama a mark identical to Romney’s on the ‎ultimate question of “good for Israel”.

Not a small feat, considering the ‎fact that this is the first time for them to do such thing in a very long ‎time.

Romney, as you can see in the following graph, was ahead of ‎Obama for almost the whole time since we started tracking the ‎candidates back in 2006.

I’ll tell you why it happened right after the ‎graph:‎

Photo

Four explanations can help us understand the mysterious ways of the ‎panel:‎

The enthusiasm gap: Of our 10-member panel, five still think that ‎Romney is the better candidate for Israel and give him a higher mark. ‎Four panelists believe that an Obama second term is better for Israel. ‎One panelist quite consistently gives them both the same mark. ‎However, the Obama-tilted experts are more enthusiastic about him ‎than the Romney-tilted experts feel strongly about Romney (so ‎remember, most of the panel still believes Romney is the better ‎candidate). ‎

The dislike gap: The Obama-tilted experts tend to be quite dismissive ‎of Romney. They dislike Romney more than the other group dislike ‎Obama. Some of them seem to dislike the Republican Party and ‎ideology. We compared the panelists’ answers and the picture became ‎very clear: the three panelists that gave Romney the lowest score are ‎also those giving the Republican Party the lowest score (and remember, ‎most of the panel still believes Romney is the better candidate). ‎

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The expert gap: Our panel is moderate, it is centrist – as we’ve always ‎contended. This is not reflective of the opinion of the Israeli public. The ‎public is a little bit less suspicious of Obama than it used to be, but is still ‎pretty far from supporting a second Obama term, according to recent ‎polls. A moderate panel tends to be cautious, tends not to be ‎appreciative of tough talk and bravado, tends to ignore public ‎sentiments. Our panel knows what the Israeli public probably wants – ‎see question number 1, the statement before last – and takes its own ‎path (and remember, most of the panel still believes Romney is the ‎better candidate).  ‎

The credit gap: Maybe what the panel is doing is compensating ‎President Obama for the lack of deserved support from Israelis. Look at ‎the last statement in our first question – we asked the panel to rank the ‎statement with which it agrees/disagrees, and the last statement was ‎‎“Obama is not getting enough credit from Israelis for his support and ‎assistance”. The panel gave this statement a 4 out of 5. That’s pretty ‎high. And interestingly, those believing Obama deserves more credit ‎also gave him a higher mark, as if they were supposed to balance this ‎deficiency in credit due (and we still have to remember: more of the ‎panel still believes Romney is the better candidate).‎

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