Despite the uproar over President Barack Obama’s support for Palestinian demands that Israel return to its 1967 borders, pollster John Zogby predicts that Obama won’t suffer significant defections from Jewish voters at the polls in 2012.
In an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview, Zogby noted that Democrats traditionally enjoy a 75 percent to 25 percent advantage in the Jewish vote. The lone exception was Ronald Reagan’s re-election bid in 1984.
It will take more than a little friction with the current leadership of Israel to change that dynamic, he says. “Israel is extremely important to American Jews. But so are traditional liberal stances, particularly on social issues."
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Zogby predicts that the rightward shift of GOP candidates during their primary battles for the nomination will limit their appeal to Jewish Americans in the general election.
“I think [the Israel issue] will be raised by Republican candidates, but I think the lines are drawn fairly well, and I think it’s hard for it to not be a 75 to 25 split for Obama and the Democrats,” he says.
Zogby also predicts that the primary impact of Obama’s Middle East speech will be to generate “a bit more enthusiasm among liberal voters,” especially Muslim-Americans.
Zogby notes that Muslim-American sympathies shifted markedly during the presidency of George W. Bush. They broke 10-to-1 for the Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry. The Iraq war and the Patriot Act offended Muslim voters, according to Zogby. An estimated 2-3 million Muslims reside in the United States.
Obama enjoyed a 10-point bounce in popularity after the successful mission against Osama bin Laden, Zogby says.
The latest Zogby poll, however, shows that only 41 percent of voters believe the president deserves to be re-elected, and another 10 percent of voters say they’re not sure.
Those numbers suggest Obama still has plenty of work to do if he hopes to secure his re-election, Zogby says.
“Now what he has to do is sustain that 48 points” of approval, Zogby says. “It’s not safe, but it takes him out of the danger zone.”
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