Jewish Journal

New York Jews favor McCain over Obama

by Brad A. Greenberg

September 18, 2008 | 12:25 pm

A Siena poll found some quite surprising results when it surveyed 626 likely voters this month and asked if they planned to vote for John McCain or Barack Obama:

McCain leads Obama ... wait for it ... by 22 percentage points—54 to 32.

After the jump, J-Pod can’t contain his excitement:

Of those, according to Steve Greenberg, the spokesman for the Siena poll, 77 were Jews, or 12 percent of the sample. That is Siena’s best guess of the size of the Jewish vote in New York state in November. With a sample size that small, the margin of error for the Jewish voter sample is plus-or-minus 11 points.

That means the poll could be off by as many as 11 points in either direction — i.e., McCain could be leading by as little as 11 points or by as many as 33. (UPDATE: I got this wrong; this stat could also mean they’re tied or that McCain is more than 40 points ahead or anywhere in the middle. For a clarification on this point, click here.)

The only difference between the September poll and the August poll as a matter of methodology is that in September, Siena polled likely voters, whereas in August it only polled registered voters.

The poll could, of course, be an outlier. But if it even begins to approximate the truth, it is huge news. No Republican has scored more than 39 percent of the Jewish vote in modern times, and that was Ronald Reagan in 1980, following a series of missteps by the Carter administration. These sorts of numbers for McCain have implications in two other states particularly — Florida and Pennsylvania.

It would appear that Obama’s Jewish problem has returned, despite the best efforts of 300 rabbis. But two words lead me to believe this poll was, in fact, an anomaly: Sarah Palin. Since she joined the McCain campaign, undecided Jews seem to have been scared to the Democrats.

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