The Jewish Vote, Do The Numbers Make A Difference?

by GADI ADELMAN May 21, 2012

Thursday, May 10th, US UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice spoke before an audience of 400-500 at B'nai Torah synagogue in Boca Raton, Florida. The event was sponsored by some rather ‘liberal' Jewish groups; the ADL, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council of South Palm Beach County.

Rabbi David Steinhardt, the senior Rabbi of the synagogue is no stranger to Obama. According to reports and a You Tube video on the event, Steinhardt has ties to Obama going back to the 2008 campaign and was asked by Obama to host the event.

The 4 minute video "Shame", explains that a "black list" was created in order to keep known anti Obama Jews and people from the event. It shows people being told to leave and when they asked why, they were told "because I've asked you to leave and that's the reason" and then they were escorted off the property by law enforcement.

About 2 dozen pro-Israel people who managed to get in to hear the speech by Rice were escorted out by police during her speech. In what way did they disrupt her speech? Were they screaming or yelling?  No, they waved little Israeli flags while she was speaking. 

An article in the New English Review explained the ties that Rabbi Steinhardt has to Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood,

Dr. Rice, a member of the Obama cabinet was introduced by the Conservative Synagogue's senior rabbi, David Steinhardt, an enthusiastic booster of President Obama and his policies towards Israel. The rabbi also conducts "outreach" to Florida's Muslim Brotherhood front groups. 

This story was the topic of my radio show ‘America Akbar' last week and one of my regular listeners, Rabbi Nachman, called in to explain that after some research on his part, he found that the Jewish vote is so small in number "that if you take all of the Jewish vote and give it to one candidate it would make no difference in the election".

Well, far be it for me to argue with a rabbi, but I had to look up these numbers for myself, after all, the rabbi is making a good point given that American Jews number approximately 6.5 million, or only 2 percent of the country, how much do the numbers really matter?

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) conducted a survey just a few weeks ago on this very subject.  The survey went much further than just who the Jews will vote for, it broke it down in to eleven topics,

Presidential Vote by Issue Priority


The survey did of course explain the bottom line,

While 61 percent of Jews report that they would vote for Obama if the election were held today and Romney were the Republican candidate (28 percent would vote for Romney, 11 percent are undecided).

More American Jewish women (67 percent) than men (55 percent) would vote for Obama if the election were held today against Romney.

The survey explains that even after 3 ½ years, an overwhelming number of Jews still approve of Obama's and the Democrats' handling of National Security,

Overall, 69 percent of American Jews approve of the way President Obama is handling national security, and 60 percent believe that the Democratic Party is more likely than the Republican Party to make the right decisions on national security issues. However, among the 26 percent of Jews who cite national security as one of their top three issue priorities in the 2012 election, only 52 percent say the Republican Party is more likely to make the right decisions regarding national security.

But getting back to the Rabbi's point, do these numbers even make a difference in the overall vote?

I found an article, "The Jewish Voter" by Stephen Richer from last August that broke down the numbers for us. Richer is a director of a DC-based nonpartisan think tank, and he is the President and Chairman of RK Research, he also directs - an event aggregator, news service, and social rallying point for young professional Jews.

He explains some interesting numbers in his article, even though Jews make up only 2 percent of the country,

The Jewish Voter, however, can be as large as 4 percent of the voting population given its very high turnout rate.

The article explains that although a small number, the Jewish vote can be important in ‘swing' states,

Given the small population of the Jewish Voter, many outside observers question whether the Jewish Voter has any effect on the larger political ecosystem or national presidential elections. The question is debated, but most scholars feel that the Jewish Voter is important at the margins of presidential elections through its ability to tip swing states. Most conspicuous among these swing states is Florida.

He notes other articles on the subject that breakdown the numbers as well,

As noted in a Slate article on the subject, "In Florida, Jews make up around 5 percent of the voting population-more than enough to swing a close race." And Anat Hakim, writing for the Los Angeles Times, identifies "nine states where the size of the Jewish population was larger than the size of victory for either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry in 2004: Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin."

So it would seem that in close races the Jewish vote can make a difference. One only has to think back to the Bush, Gore race of 2000 and the ‘hanging chads' dispute of Florida that ended up at the Supreme Court.

One thing that I noted to the rabbi that we agreed on was the "wealth" of the Jewish vote and how important it is to any candidate's campaign. The Richer article explains that as well and gives some astounding numbers as to the donations,

The importance of the Jewish Voter is also elevated due to its wealth. Ron Kampeas, writing at The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, claims that "estimates over the years have reckoned that Jewish donors provide between one-third and two-thirds of the party's money." Similarly, David Freedlander noted in the New York Observer that "According to some estimates, nearly 60 percent of the money raised by the Democratic National Committee is donated by Jews, and any drop in support for the president's re-election could endanger the campaign's ambitious goal of $1 billion." Steven Windmueller at The New York Jewish Week claims that "Jewish donors have generated as much as 45 cents of every dollar raised by Democrats and provide a growing base of support for Republican candidates."

With "nearly 60 percent of the money raised by the Democratic National Committee donated by Jews" anyone can see the importance of the ‘Jewish vote' and the desire by Obama to appear pro-Israel with the upcoming election.

The reason Jews are by far Democrats has been argued by scholars on both sides for years and would need to be an entire separate article, but the fact remains that Jews have always voted for the democrat as explained by the numbers,

Only once in the past 80 years has the percentage of Jews Voters favoring the Democratic candidate dropped below 50 percent (Carter, 1980). But even in that year, more Jewish Voters went for Carter than his Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.

With the amount of times I have stated "that Obama is becoming Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter did" since early 2009, I can only hope that this year's election follows in the footsteps of the Jewish Carter vote.

I spent over an hour and a half on last Thursdays show stating facts of Obama, his views, comments and actions towards the Jews, Israel and Muslims as well as his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood going back to before he was the Senator from Illinois.

I know many Jews have awakened to the truth, but I also know many who have said that, even though they won't be voting for Obama this November, they won't bother to vote at all. That to me is just as frightening.

The Florida vote in 2000 showed us how important each and every single vote can be. The population of Jewish voters in Florida is in the top 3 of Jewish populations by state and the fact that it is a swing state makes it all that more important.

States with the highest proportion of Jews:

Rank     State    Percent Jewish

1          New York          9.1

2          New Jersey       5.5

3          Florida             4.6

As the Richer article pointed out in the end,

For every commentator advancing one idea about the Jewish Voter, there is likely another expert suggesting the opposite. The only poll that will really tell us where the Jewish Voter is going is the actual election in November 2012, a date not too far away. Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He can be heard every Thursday night at 8PM est. on his own radio show "America Akbar" on Blog Talk Radio. He can be reached through his website


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