Jewish Journal


September 21, 2012

Israel Factor: Obama still leads



Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the 2012 national conventions in Florida and North Carolina, respectively. (Photos: Reuters)

Our September survey of the Israel Factor panel was in some ways similar to the one of August, and in some ways not.

Similar because Obama, having taking the lead a month ago for the first time in this survey of Israeli experts, is still leading in September. But, the lead is narrower: 7 for Obama, 6.9 for Romney.

Not exactly similar as on the one hand, the gap is narrower, on the other hand, the number of panelists preferring one over the other has changed. Four prefer Romney, four prefer Obama, and two panelists give the two candidates the same score. The reason for the gap then, is clear: the panelists supporting Obama tend to rank him higher compared to Romney, than those supporting Romney rank him compared to Obama.

Here’s the Obama-Romney graph, 2006-2012, followed by a couple of comments:


  • Since we just published a number of polls from which it is clear that a majority of Israelis prefers Romney over Obama, you now have the ultimate proof that our panel is not reflective of the general Israeli view. It is a panel of experts, not a public opinion poll.
  • Note two interesting things that separate our panel from the view of the Israeli public: In our first question of this month’s survey we asked the panel to rank different statements. The panel gave a 5.57 score (out of 10) to the statement “the Obama administration seems ready to attack Iran if necessary” while giving only a 3.88 score to the statement “Romney is much tougher on Iran than Obama”.
  • Interestingly, the statement that got the highest score, 5.63, is: “Israeli threats are the only way to convince the Obama administration to ramp up the pressure on Iran”. Namely, while the panel believes Obama might have the determination to use force, the panel also thinks that constant Israeli nudging is the only way of keeping the pressure up on Iran.
  • The only other statement to get a score higher than 5 is “If re-elected Obama will renew his demand for settlement freeze”. But the panel doesn’t think the president is “likely to pursue a vigorous Israeli-Palestinian peace process”. So maybe when it comes to the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace Romney was not as far from the truth as the Obama team would like you to believe.

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