Barack Obama Wins 77 Percent of Jewish Vote, Exit Polls Show

Jewish support surpassed 74% Kerry received in 2004; J Street: Campaign against Obama one of 'baseless smears.'

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Despite the tense rift between Republican and Democratic Jews over the course of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, exit polls on Tuesday showed that Barack Obama received about 77 percent of the Jewish vote.

These numbers were higher even than the 2004 election, when Democratic candidate John Kerry received 74 percent of the Jewish vote. Al Gore received the highest percentage of Jewish votes in 2000, with 79 percent.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of the J Street lobby group on Tuesday called Obama's victory a sign that the campaign waged against him by Republican Jews comprised "baseless smears."

"American Jews resoundingly rejected the two-year, multi-million dollar campaign of baseless smears and fear waged against him by the right wing of our community," he said. "Surrogates and right-wing political operatives in our community stopped at nothing in their efforts to sway Jewish voters against Obama."

"We can only hope that these results put to rest for good the myth that fear and smear campaigns - particularly around Israel - can be an effective political weapon in the Jewish communit," he added.

A Gallup poll released in late October showed Jewish voters favored Barack Obama over John McCain by more than 3 to 1, with 74% saying they would vote for Obama over 22% for McCain.

The poll, which interviewed over 650 Jewish registered voters each month since June, showed American Jews growing increasingly comfortable with Obama since July, when the Illinois Senator tied up the Democratic Party nomination.

The poll showed support for McCain among Jews stood at a high of 34% in June, before beginning its downward turn in July after Obama's nomination.

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