The results are in.
After all the gnashing of teeth by Obama’s critics that his policies on Israel are costing him the support of his Jewish base, a new poll — by a right-wing organization, no less — shows that 92 percent of Jewish Democrats approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance.
The poll also found that 58 percent believe President Obama “is doing a good job of promoting peace in the Middle East.” (Only 16 percent disagreed with this statement.) Moreover, when asked: “Do you think President Obama is being too tough on Israel?”, 55 percent answered “No.” (Only 18 percent said yes.)
The poll was conducted at the end of July by the Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative lobbying group that represents 43,000 churches. A quick perusal of the coalition’s Web site gives a clear sense of the values it seeks to promote. The home page offers a click through for “Causes and Cures of Homosexuality.” It opposes abortion but supports the death penalty, citing Biblical imperatives. Its chairman and founder, Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, is a strong defender of Israel.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, then, that Sheldon and TVC seemed almost let down by their own polling results. The coalition takes great pains to emphasize the negative results of the poll, issuing a release headlined: “TVC Poll Finds Americans Conflicted Over Israel and Obama.” They cite as evidence the fact that 52 percent of respondents said “the Arabs will never live in peace with Israel” — as if that’s somehow definitive.
“In other words,” Sheldon is quoted as saying in the TVC release, “the President’s support among Jewish Americans is a mile wide but when specific issues about Israel’s defense are raised it is about halved and looks ‘an inch deep.’ ”
Wow. What a stretch. I guess there’s spin, and then there’s flat-out desperation.
Here’s more: When asked if Israel should bomb Iran to stop it from obtaining nuclear weapons, only 15 percent of Jewish Democrats answered “yes.” A whopping 62 percent said, “no.”
You can nearly hear Sheldon contorting to make this statement: “Support for President Obama is high among Jewish Americans but half express concerns and disagreements with specific policies, particularly where Iran is involved.”
His conclusion is apparently based on the fact that 45 percent said they were “not sure” what Obama would do if Israel attacked Iran. TVC flat out ignores the fact that when answering the same question, 40 percent said they thought Obama would support Israel, while only 15 percent said he would not.
Ignoring the central findings of the poll, Dick Morris and Eileen McGann penned a missive in the New York Post headlined “Where BAM Breaks With Jewish Dems,” which begins:
JEWISH Democrats strongly agree with the Israeli position and disagree with President Obama’s on issues such as a Palestinian state, settlement construction and trading land for peace. Does the president realize he’s at risk of a break with an important part of his base?
Cherry-picking through the poll with an eye to anything at all that might convey discord, Morris and McGann downplay all the poll results they don’t like. True, they shrug, half of Jewish Democrats flat out reject the notion that Obama is biased against Israel, but “a significantly large number” — 35 percent — are still undecided on the question!
Is this what happens when the rhetoric of Obama’s detractors fails to square with the reality of his wide and strong support among Jewish Democrats?
For a fair and balanced analysis of the poll results, see this Jewish Telegraphic Agency article: “It’s almost unanimous: Jewish Dems on board with Obama.” The JTA writes:
The survey suggests that despite the Obama administration’s repeated calls for an Israeli settlement freeze, support for the president among American Jews remains high.
It’s a good article. Morris and McGann should read it.