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The Election and the Jewish Vote: Coming into the Homestretch!

by Steven Windmueller

September 17, 2012 | 8:07 pm

What will happen prior to November 6th?

  1. The Arrival of Late Money: Americans of all political stripes will be pouring additional resources into this election and the Jewish community is no exception. In 2010, Jews provided nearly $13 million to candidates and political parties, with Jewish PAC’s offering nearly $3 million. In this campaign, late money serves as a reminder to both political camps of our core expectations and interests.
  2. Let the Mobilization Begin: During the remaining six weeks, we will see efforts by both campaigns to ‘bring out the troops” as volunteers head to the battleground states. Jews will be present not only to persuade their co-coreligionists but all independent and undecided voters.  There will be a good deal of movement as this organizing effort unfolds by phone and in person. Jewish voters in such “swing states” as Ohio, Florida, and Colorado will be among the target audiences, as every vote will be seen as critical in this election. The Key Swing States Will Be the Center of the Campaign's Attention: No Jew Left Behind in these Eight States!
  3. The Intensity of the Campaign Will Exacerbate Political Tensions:  In the closing weeks of the 2008 campaign the level of charges hailed by supporters on both sides against the other party was particularly intense, and among Jews it was extraordinarily loud and at times angry.
  4. The Late Surge: We will see an array of advertisements in the pages of the Anglo-Jewish press as well as campaign debates in synagogues and elsewhere where both sides will be making their final appeals for support. Rabbis and community leaders are being asked to endorse candidates and/or speak on their behalf. We ought not to be surprised to find letters to the newspaper and the presence of campaign ads and endorsements in our mail box, focusing on our vote as Jewish Americans.
  5. Watch the Outcomes in Several Key Races: There are a number of interesting races this year involving Jewish candidates; among the election results to monitor include the Nevada Senate Racethe Ohio Senate Race, and the Hawaii Senate Race, as well as a number of key Congressional seats in which we find Jewish candidates or incumbents (check out New Jersey, New York, Illinois and California in particular).
  6. Examining the Numbers:  From the polling data available at this point, the President will win the Jewish vote, but his overall numbers show a drop of support between 9-12 percentage points from his 2008 totals.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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From June 2006 to June 2010, Steven Windmueller served as the Dean of Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles campus.  In March of 2009, President David Ellenson named Professor...

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