Jewish Democrats Ready Push for Obama

Aim To Focus on Social Issues and Israel To Swing Tight Vote

Road to Charlotte: President Barack Obama campaigned in Ohio as Democrats gather to nominate him for reelection.
getty images
Road to Charlotte: President Barack Obama campaigned in Ohio as Democrats gather to nominate him for reelection.

By Nathan Guttman

Published September 04, 2012, issue of September 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Democrats are preparing to use their party’s nominating convention as a springboard to shore up Jewish support for President Barack Obama’s reelection effort, especially in crucial swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Along with a string of Jewish speakers, activists at the convention are being urged to tout what they see as Obama’s strong support for Israel, but to also stress social issues on which they believe he has a strong edge over Republican Mitt Romney.

Volunteer holds Obama campaign sign in Hebrew.
nathan guttman
Volunteer holds Obama campaign sign in Hebrew.

Even though polls show the Jewish vote firmly in Obama’s camp already, campaign officials believe their efforts to win over undecided Jews could be crucial in an election expected to be decided by a razor thin margin.

In a training session for Jewish activists Monday at the Charlotte convention center, campaign official David Simas presented figures showing Obama with only a slight lead in many battleground states.

The Jewish vote, Democrats now estimate, could make a difference between victory and defeat for the president. If support for Obama among Jewish voters drops from the estimated 74% he got in 2008 to 68%, as tracking polls now show, the change in key states could be enough to swing the election. If Obama loses 10% of Jewish votes he won in 2008, that would translate to 85,000 votes in Florida, 41,500 in Pennsylvania and 19,000 in Ohio. Nevada, Colorado and Virginia are also key swing states in which there are significant numbers of Jewish voters.

At the three-day convention itself, there will be plenty of Jewish speakers to hone the message. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who heads the Democratic National Committee will officially open the convention on Tuesday. Wasserman Schultz will also be part of the warm up team for Obama’s speech on Thursday night. Other Jewish speakers during the convention in Charlotte will include Colorado congressman Jared Polis, Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, New York Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Steve Israel, who is also from New York, retiring congressman Barney Frank from Massachusetts, and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.