Obama Rides Jewish Mandate to Second Term

Wins 70% of Jewish Vote in Return to White House: Polls

More Than Enough: Early poll results suggest a slight dip in President Obama’s support among Jewish voters. It was enough to help him win four more years in the White House.
getty images
More Than Enough: Early poll results suggest a slight dip in President Obama’s support among Jewish voters. It was enough to help him win four more years in the White House.

By Nathan Guttman

Published November 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

President Barack Obama rode a renewed mandate from Jewish voters to win an historic second term in the White House.

With a list of swing states painted blue as the vote count proceeded, Obama’s Democratic victory was clinched with narrow predicted victories in the battleground states of Florida and Ohio, both with significant Jewish populations.

Obama cemented his win by keeping a firm grip on the Democratic base, including Jewish liberals, along with a massive victory among African Americans and a huge win among Latinos.

Jewish Republicans have conducted their largest ever mobilization of activists and of funds, arguing that Obama, now poised to enter his second term in the White House, would maintain an unfriendly attitude toward Israel. The results of this massive Republican effort, according to exit polls conducted on election day, are mixed.

The early data indicates that 70% of Jewish voters chose Barack Obama, a slight decline compared to the 2008 election in which Obama won 74% of the vote according to a compilation of national and local exit polls. (Republicans maintain that Obama’s showing last night among Jewish voters should be compared to his national exit poll outcome in 2008 which was 78%.) Either way, the polls reflect some decline in the support of Jewish voters for the Democrats.

“As predicted, big drop!” tweeted Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition in response to the news on the decline in Jewish support for Obama. Republicans have argued that American Jews are gradually shifting toward the party and last night’s results confirm this trend.

Jewish Democrats brushed off the idea of a downward trend, noting that it corresponds with the national decline in support for the President in comparison to the 2008 elections.

“We were outspent by Jewish Republicans by over $40 million and they only have four points and another four years in exile to show for it. Some mazel,” said Steve Rabinowitz, a former Clinton White House press aide, who ran a Jewish media hub in support of the President’s re-election.

The Jewish vote outcome leaves much room for debate on both sides. For Democrats, it could require a look into ways to counter the slow but distinctive creep of Jewish voters toward the Republican side. Republicans, on the other hand, will have to ponder the effectiveness of their massive cash infusion directed at swaying Jewish voters, a move that brought about only small change.

Florida, one of three key swing states that determined the election and the prime target of Republican and Democratic Jewish outreach effort, seemed to have been a bit more receptive to the Republican message, with 34% of Jewish voters, according to exit polls, voting Romney. Still, the heavily Jewish populated counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, voted heavily toward Obama, accounting for his narrow lead in the state.

For Jewish candidates for Congress it was a mixed night.

In a race that gained national interest, Brad Sherman led Howard Berman in the battle to represent California’s newly drawn 30th congressional district in the House of Representatives. The two Jewish sitting congressmen engaged in a bitter fight, but Sherman’s strong ground operation and his well-maintained ties with the local constituency, outweighed Berman’s backing from top party officials. Berman, one of the most active Jewish members of Congress and the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs committee will be leaving Washington come January.

In Ohio, Jewish Republican Josh Mandel, a Tea Party sympathizer and fiscal conservative hardliner, lost his bid to unseat incumbent Sherrod Brown in a race that attracted significant out of state funding. The GOP had pegged its hopes on Mandel, 35, the Ohio State Treasurer and an up and coming figure in the Republican Party, who for a while succeeded in posing a threat to Brown. But in final count, the Democrat incumbent won the race handedly. In other races involving Jewish candidates, Rhode Island congressman David Cicilline won his re-election in face of a tough race that attracted a lot of money and interest.

And in Florida’s 22nd district, another Jew vs. Jew race ended with Democrat Lois Frankel beat Republican Adam Hasner with a large margin.


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!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • 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.