Big Shift in Jewish Voters Away From Democrats

Friday, 09 Nov 2012 11:53 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The number of American Jews who voted for President Barack Obama this week substantially declined from four years ago, a part because of tension with Israel and his cantankerous relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama still won a majority of the Jewish vote, but took just 69 percent this year, down from 78 percent in 2008.

"American Jews are, first and foremost, Americans. Like other white Americans, they're moved by the economy and other factors," David A. Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, told the newspaper.

Despite the smaller numbers, Obama still won every state where a substantial Jewish population is considered influential — which appears to include Florida.

Meanwhile, Jewish Republicans are taking some credit for an improved Republican performance by Mitt Romney among Jews.

"If Republicans had done in the Hispanic community, or the black community, or the young community, what they were able to do in the Jewish community, Gov. Romney would have won" nationally, Ari Fleischer, an adviser to the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the Journal.

For his part, Netanyahu extended an olive branch to the White House this week as he attempted to smooth over tensions over the past few months.

"I think the United States of American again demonstrated why it's the greatest democracy on earth," the prime minister said.



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