Archive for October 24th, 2008

JTA: ‘Obama Making Big Gains With Jewish Voters’

Friday, October 24th, 2008

This is what we have been working toward, for months.

Here’s the nut, from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

[Two] polls suggest that after months of hovering around 60 percent, Obama appears to be within striking distance of the 75-80 percent of the Jewish vote won by the three previous Democratic nominees for president.

A Gallup tracking poll of 564 Jewish registered voters, taken over the first three weeks of October, found Obama leading Republican John McCain by a 74-22 percent margin. That was a 13-point increase in support for the Democratic nominee since Gallup’s July poll, which had Obama leading 61-34 percent …

Meanwhile, a Qunnipiac University poll taken Oct. 16-21 in Florida found Obama winning 77 percent of Jewish voters in that state, compared to just 20 percent for McCain.

The article is clear that McCain’s pick of Palin is hurting him among Jewish voters, who, like growing numbers of voters nationwide, see the Alaska governor as too inexperienced, and too tied to the far right.

But it’s also very clear that Obama is showing gains from his serious outreach to Jewish communities across the country. This, despite a raft of nasty and misleading negative ads directed against him by the Republican Jewish Coalition, published in Jewish newspapers like the Cleveland Jewish News and many others. As the JTA reports:

In addition to citing the Palin selection, both [National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira] Forman and Democratic pollster Mark Mellman emphasized the extensive efforts of Obama and his campaign to introduce the Democratic nominee to the Jewish community. The campaign has sent dozens of Jewish surrogates — including Jewish members of Congress and well known figures in the community such as Ed Koch and Dennis Ross — to key states to talk about Obama’s background and his views on Israel and the Middle East.

“As people got to know him better, they felt a lot more comfortable” with him, Mellman said.

That effort continues next week in my hometown, Akron. The Ohio Democratic Party is bringing Dan Shapiro, Obama’s senior policy advisor and National Jewish Outreach Coordinator, to town to speak to the local Jewish community. (See event details at end of this post.) Like Obama advisor Dennis Ross before him, who came to Cleveland last month to address the local Jewish community, Shapiro will talk about Obama’s positions on Israel, the Middle East, and other areas crucial to Jewish voters.

Obama himself came to Cleveland during the primary, to meet with about 100 members of the Jewish community. He answered any and all questions we had for him, directly and intelligently, speaking from the heart about the critical nature of the U.S-Israel relationship.

It’s all part of an unprecedented effort by Obama to speak directly to the Jewish community, to lay out his positions, and to talk specifically about his record.

Sure, some of this is in response to the smear campaign directed against him, which has hurt him among Jewish voters. But that in no way diminishes the significance of Obama’s outreach effort.

When was the last time a presidential candidate made such a thoughtful, concerted, and consistent effort to speak directly to the Jewish community?

It tells us something about Obama’s values — even more when you remember that Jews make up less than 2 percent of the electorate.

If you live in or around Akron, I hope you’ll come to the Dan Shapiro event. If you have any remaining questions about Obama, his positions on Israel, or his take on the Middle East, this is a wonderful chance to ask them.

DETAILS: Tuesday, October 28, 7:30 p.m.; the Shaw JCC of Akron; 750 White Pond Drive.

Shabbat Shalom.

Another Neurotic Democrat: Gail Collins Reports

Friday, October 24th, 2008

This stuff is contagious. Here’s the nut:

The Democrats are terrified. They’re convinced something terrible is going to happen because something terrible always happens. Look at 2000! Look at 2004! All the exit polls said it was going to be Kerry and then he lost. How could that happen? Because God hates Democrats, that’s why.

It’s like the curse of the Bambino. The Democrats fear they’re under a jinx because they committed some sin, the political equivalent of trading away Babe Ruth. If so, it probably started with nominating Joe Lieberman for vice president.

The only people who seem to have faith that Barack Obama can pull this off are the Republicans.

You can read the rest of her column here.