Support for U.S. President Barack Obama has risen since April among Jewish Americans, while the popularity of his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, has since slid.
According to a recent national poll by the American Jewish Committee, 65 percent of U.S. Jews support Obama, while 24 percent prefer Romney. This reflects an increase in support for the Democratic president since April's AJC poll, when 61 percent of U.S. Jews supported him, and 28 percent preferred the Republican leader.
In light of the recent poll, Obama's supporters were quick to point out that the results were even better for Obama when one takes into consideration the details of the 10 percent of undecided Jewish voters, 63 percent of whom cite a preference for Obama, while 27 percent prefer Romney.
The more secular the respondents, the more they support Obama: among Orthodox Jews, 40 percent prefer Obama, while 54 percent prefer Romney, among Conservative Jews the ratio is 64:23, for Reform Jews it's 64:23 and for those who describe themselves as "just Jewish" the ratio is 68:19.
Obama also does better among the Jewish women than men – 69 percent of Jewish women prefer Obama, while 19 percent prefer Romney, while 61 percent of Jewish men, favor Obama, while 29 percent prefer Romney. This pattern is similar among the general American public, only the results are much closer.
For 66 percent of the Jews, a candidate's selection of running mate is an important factor when deciding on who they support, while 33 percent don't attribute much significance to who is number two on the ticket. The polls show that 73 percent of Jews approve of the Democratic candidate for vice president, Joe Biden, while 27 percent disapprove. The Republican VP candidate is in a more challenging position: Rep. Paul Ryan enjoys 35 percent approval and 63 percent disapproval.
Though still falling short of 2008 figures, when 78 percent of Jewish voters supported Obama, the AJC poll reveals an improvement in Obama's standing as a candidate among Jewish voters.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has invested a lot of time, money and effort into trying to convey the message that Obama is bad for Israel, and therefore bad for the Jews. Jewish voters were approached with a door-to-door leaflets distribution campaign, phone calls and TV ads in the swing states. On Thursday, RJC presented a 9-minute mini-documentary about Obama's mistreatment of Israel in "perilous times."
The film clip features expert testimonies alongside clips of U.S. lawmakers expressing concern that the Obama Administration is pushing Israel into a problematic position, with comments like, "Think about Obama pressuring Israel to go to the '67 borders," without mentioning Obama's actual words, which included, "with mutually agreed swaps." It also cites Obama's Cairo speech and his outreach to the Muslim world while snubbing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pressuring him over the "construction of houses in Israel's capital of Jerusalem" (no mention of settlements), arguing that "Israelis were shocked and offended" by Obama's position.
It might seem the film's creators suffer from some sort of intentional amnesia, saying, "For generations, Israel has counted on one ally - the US... But things have changed since Barack Obama became president," as if all was bright in U.S.-Israeli relations, despite the deep antipathy between former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and then Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel's objections to AWACS sale to Saudi Arabia, or the American ire following the Osirak bombing or invasion of Lebanon. There is a clip, though, of Senator Barack Obama, who was then a presidential candidate, promising in his speech at an AIPAC conference that Jerusalem "must remain undivided."
Only the actual vote will show how effective the RJC campaign was, but so far as the polls reveal, the Obama campaign has little to worry about - at least when it comes to support from the Jewish community.
On the Democratic side, it's difficult to miss the new video collaboration between the Jewish author Adam Mansbach and the actor Samuel L. Jackson this week - a political spoof on Mansbach's popular children book for adults, "Go the F***ck to sleep."
Last year, Jackson recorded read-aloud of the book - and this time, the two produced a partisan video calling for President Obama's apathetic supporters to “Wake the F***ck Up.” Maybe it's not really educational to see a little girl cursing, but witha barrage of totally unfunny and hardly creative ads this elections season in the U.S., at least this one is quite refreshing.
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