As the 2012 election approaches, political operatives are asking where President Barack Obama's support stands among Jewish Americans. While some contend that he has maintained their backing, others believe he is trending downward in garnering their support. Last week, The Blaze's Christopher Santarelli wrote the following:
Since his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring and with the increasingly vocal support of Israel coming from Republican challengers, more and more Jewish Democrats are having trouble picturing themselves voting for President Obama in 2012...
In 2008 Jews voted for Obama in droves, exit polling at 78 percent for the then Senator from Illinois. As general approval of the President has declined since the inauguration, Mr. Obama and chief campaign advisors know his reelection could hinge on once again securing the Jewish demographic.
Yesterday, a poll was released by Gallup that showcases a slight reduction in support among the Jewish cohort. In June, 60 percent of Jewish Americans gave the president a favorable rating. This was down from 68 percent in May and 64 percent in April. The disapproval rating -- currently 32 percent -- is similar to the average so far in 2011 (30 percent). Below, see an explanatory graph from Gallup:
From the beginning, Jews were more supportive of the president than was the general American populace. Back in 2009, Obama held an 83 percent favorability rating among American Jews. At the same time, 66 percent of the general public approved of him. These numbers have decreased to 60 and 46, respectfully.
Now, just one day after these telling results were released, political operative Dick Morris claims that Obama is, indeed, losing the Jewish vote. In a piece published on TheHill.com, he writes:
If the election were held today, President Obama would get only 56 percent of the Jewish vote against a generic Republican candidate, down from the 78 percent he won in 2008 and less than the 74 percent John Kerry received in 2004.
Morris, who says the study includes a sample size of 1,000 individuals, claims that the drowning numbers are being fueled by Jewish dissatisfaction with Obama's Israeli border proposal. Both the general Jewish populace and those individuals aligned with the Democratic Party deeply opposed this recommendation. On the whole, the president was also seen as being "too biased against Israel" (though the gap was not very large on this indicator).
Among Jewish Democrats Morris found the following:
• By 37-47, they do not think Obama is “doing a good job of promoting peace in the Middle East.”
• By 43-42, they break evenly on whether Obama “is being too tough on Israel.”
• By 61-30, Jewish Democrats think the president “is naïve in thinking that he can make peace with the Arabs.”
Sixteen months will come to pass between now and the 2012 presidential election. There's no telling how these proportions will evolve, just as there's no predicting how Obama will adjust his policies and standpoints in the wake of an impending campaign. But, for the moment, it does seem that the commander-in-chief has lost some key support among American Jews -- a group he has counted on in the past.