CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL

By E.J. Kessler

Published April 15, 2005, issue of April 15, 2005.
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Jewish Vote Redux: Some 77% of American Jews voted for John Kerry in the 2004 election, according to a “white paper” that examines most of the polling, both partisan and non-partisan, during the election cycle. That number was not much of a shift from the 81% who voted for then Vice President Al Gore in 2000.

The paper, released this week by The Solomon Project, a non partisan foundation with ties to the National Jewish Democratic Council, also found that Jewish women voted for the Democratic ticket in markedly higher percentages than Jewish men and that the Republicans made inroads with regular synagogue-goers and Jews under 30, especially young men — causes for Republican hope.

Jewish men voted for Kerry 70% to 28%, while Jewish women voted for Kerry 82% to 16%, according to the study. Nearly half the voters who attend synagogue at least weekly — 47% — voted for President Bush, according to polls conducted by the Democratic Mellman Group, which polled for Kerry. About 35% of Jewish men under 30 voted for Bush and 60% for Kerry, according to exit polls assembled for news organizations by the National Election Pool. That contrasted strongly with Jewish women under 30, 88% of whom voted for Kerry, according to the NEP survey – a yawning gender gap.

Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal, who blogs about the intricacies of survey research at Mysterypollster.com, wrote in an e-mail, “I find this report genuinely interesting because it combines data from a wide variety of different polls, rather than just looking at a single poll. When you compare different polls this way, you realize that with survey data, it can be hard to settle on one particular number. What is clear, considering all the data, is that Kerry’s percentage of all Jewish voters lay somewhere in the mid to high 70s, most likely somewhere between 74% and 77%. As the report notes, all of the various estimates are a few points lower than the percentage Gore received in 2000, but that was true for the population as a whole.”

Republican pollster Glen Bolger commented: “Well, they say there hasn’t been much of a shift in the Jewish vote, but there was a net five point improvement for Bush in 2004 when compared to 2000. Given that the overall national vote shift on the presidential level was a net +2.9 percent in Bush’s favor, that means the Jewish vote moved more strongly for Bush than the national vote.”

The executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks, said: “This is nothing more than statistical hocus pocus and wishful thinking on the part of the Democrats. No matter how much they try to manipulate the data, the undeniable fact is that George Bush did significantly better among Jewish voters in 2004 than in 2000 and that in every presidential election in the last 12 years, the Republican candidate has steadily and consistently increased their support among Jews while the Democrats have been losing support.”

Independent political analyst Stuart Rothenberg called the Republican increases “marginal” and said, “They still have a long way to go before they can say there’s been a realignment.”

* * *

Taken In by LaRouche?: A prominent congressman is denouncing the organization of extremist political figure Lyndon LaRouche — after the lawmaker spoke at a LaRouche function.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan — the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus — appeared March 23 as featured speaker at an event in Detroit sponsored by the LaRouche Political Action Committee, according to a report on the Web site Politics1.com.

Conyers “wasn’t aware” that LaRouche has made antisemitic comments, said a Conyers spokesman who declined to be named because he feared being hassled by LaRouche’s minions. “He was surprised by them. He’s denouncing those comments. He wouldn’t speak before those groups until they renounce antisemitism.”

The Anti-Defamation League has published reports on what it describes as the antisemitic facets of the politics of LaRouche, a onetime Maoist and perennial fringe presidential candidate whose writings feature conspiracy theories involving Jews and others. LaRouche, who was convicted of tax evasion, denies being an antisemite.

Politics1.com linked to a LaRouche Web site that printed Conyers’s speech at the Detroit gathering. It also reported that Mississippi State Rep. Erik Fleming, another black Democrat and so far the only 2006 challenger to Republican Senator Trent Lott, has gone “on LaRouche-sponsored junkets” and “introduced candidate LaRouche at a campaign rally.”

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, said about LaRouche, “There was a time when ignorance was an excuse, but that time had passed: “There’s no excuse. The man is a felon, a bigot. His organization is off the wall. It thrives on conspiracy theories. For a person in public life not to have their staff do the work….”

* * *

Orthodox Conclave: The Orthodox Union got some high-powered folks to speak to its annual leadership mission to Washington last week. Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams discussed Israel-American relations, while Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove gave a stirring account of Bush’s personal commitment to combating the resurgence of antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere. Other speakers and luncheon guests included Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; Tevi Troy, deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy; White House liaison to the Jewish community Noam Neusner, and Senators Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, Sam Brownback, Ron Wyden, Jon Corzine, Jim Talent, Debbie Stabenow, Tom Coburn, Paul Sarbanes, Lincoln Chaffee and Gordon Smith. The O.U. gave an award to Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania for helping to secure homeland security funds for synagogues and nonprofits, which are leading terrorism targets. Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been facing pressure from Republicans who want him to help to detonate the “nuclear option” ending judicial filibusters by Democrats. The director of the O.U.’s Institute of Public Affairs, Nathan Diament, said that his group has no position on the nuclear option or individual judicial nominees but praised Specter for “trying to find a way to bring the factions back from the brink. That’s clearly a critical effort that needs to be made.”






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