Jewish Journal


October 16, 2008

Obama or McCain: who will Jews vote for?



I mentioned last night that Barack Obama’s campaign has tired of attacks from the Republican Jewish Coalition and will no longer engage them. This made sense to some people, but not really to me. Though Obama’s lead nationally has stretched to 14 points, he’s still struggling in the Jewish community, particularly, with elderly Jews—and Jesse Jackson isn’t helping.

The latest poll from the American Jewish Committee showed Obama receiving only 57 percent of the Jewish vote, with 13 percent undecided and the rest going to John McCain. Sure, it’s likely Obama will get at least some, if not most, of those undecided voters—but if he received none, he would be only the second Democratic presidential nominee (after President Carter in 1980) to receive the support of less than 60 percent of Jewish voters since Jews fell in love with FDR.

“If Barack Obama doesn’t become the next president of the United States, I’m gonna blame the Jews.” You might remember hearing Sarah Silverman say that in her video for The Great Schlep.

I can’t every remember presidential candidates spending more time sweating Jewish voters, but, at this point, I’m not sure Obama needs to go 70-30 with the Jewish vote. After all, this is a very unusual election year and, with younger evangelicals split over McCain and Sarah Palin, Obama just might grab a larger chunk of that traditionally Republican voting bloc. Maybe Obama doesn’t need the Jews. There are really not that many (though there are in Florida).

Still, liberals in the Jewish community are fretting these final weeks; conservatives are hoping for a turnaround. I wrote about this at length in this week’s Jewish Journal, the first time I’ve written about the election in print since this cover story for the primaries.

After the jump is an excerpt that talks about McCain’s surprising Hollywood insider and Daphna Ziman’s move from supporting her friend, Hillary Clinton, to the man she was terrified of earlier this year:

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