There's no question that President Barack Obama has fielded some tough questions regarding his support -- and perceived lack thereof -- for the Israeli state and the Jewish people.
But, despite allegations that he has lost favor among American Jews, a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute seems to indicate that Obama is poised to, once again, capture the majority of this cohort come November.
In September, we reported that the president was beginning to ramp up his outreach to Jewish donors and supporters. With strategist Dick Morris, among others, warning about an Obama-Jewish implosion, this tactic made perfect political sense. In the months that followed, the president reiterated -- at least rhetorically -- his support for Israel, even going on to claim that he's "done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration."
Some conservative Jews, though, have maintained that the man who was able to secure 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 is a "train wreck" and a "con man." There was even a film, produced by the Emergency Committee for Israel, attacking Obama's record on Israel. And earlier this month, we reported that some major 2008 donors have been giving monies to Republican contender Mitt Romney (not a good sign for the president by any measure).
But despite the challenges, it hasn't been all bad for Obama when it comes to relating to Jewish Americans. After all, The Jewish Forward added him to their list of the year's most influential...Jews (our reporting on this can be found here). New York Magazine even wondered back in September if he's the first Jewish president. Now, a PRRI poll is claiming that the president is poised, despite criticism, to capture the majority of Jewish voters this November.
The Jewish Forward has more:
For President Obama and the Jews, it’s starting to look like 2008 all over again.
A new survey of Jews shows 62% plan to vote for the president, roughly similar to where he stood at this time four years ago when he went on to garner nearly 80% of the Jewish vote in November.
About 30% of those surveyed in the new Public Religion Research Institute poll said they planned to vote for a Republican, with 17% naming GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney and the rest split between the other three candidates.
Even more importantly, just 7% of Jews who voted for Obama in 2008 now prefer a Republican candidate, indicating Obama does not face a significant fracturing of his Jewish base of support.
All-in-all, the poll found that Jewish Americans are still majority liberal, inclined to support Democrats and very focused on social and economic issues. Israel, at least according to the research, is not a "deciding factor" when it comes to how American Jews vote.
The PRRI poll included 1,004 self-identifying Jews (those who are Jewish by religion, ethnicity or culture) and it had a margin of error of 5 percentage points. Read more about this research over on the Forward.
(H/T: The Jewish Forward)