Florida’s Jewish voters were in the crosshairs of Republican efforts to peel support away from President Obama in the general election.
Exit polls from the Republican primary suggest that the strategy may not be working particularly well.
According to polls posted by Fox News, only 1% of voters in today’s Republican primary identified themselves as Jewish. That’s compared to 3% of Republican primary voters identifying themselves as Jewish in 2008.
The polls involve a relatively small number of voters, roughly 2,000 in today’s poll, and experts warn that they shouldn’t be taken as representative, especially when dealing with a small sub-group like GOP Jews.
“It could be statistical noise,” said Kyle Kondik, an analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “It’s hard to extrapolate much from that.”
But fewer Jewish voters in the primary could correlate to a lack of enthusiasm among Jews for the Republican field. Most Jewish Republican leaders back Mitt Romney over Newt Gingrich.
“You have to hold your nose,” said Republican Jewish voter Micki Kaufman of the Republican hopefuls. Kaufman winters in Boca Raton, Florida. Though she votes in New York, other Florida seniors shared her views.
The Forward reported last week on Floridian Jews’ specific anxieties over a Gingrich presidency.
Barack Obama won an estimated 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008. Republicans are hoping to cut into that margin by raising questions about the strength of his support for Israel.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.