National exit polls are now saying that 68% of Jews voted for Obama – ten points behind the president’s performance in these polls four years ago.
Once again, the night is young, and these figures could move. Few expect Obama to hold on to the 74% of the Jewish vote he won in 2008. The question is how many Jewish votes he’ll drop, and whether any of that change will have an impact on the actual outcome of the election.
Earlier in the night, exit polls report that 66% of Florida Jews voted for Obama.
These figures are likely based on a very small sample, and likely have a very high margin of error. (We’re looking at this on the CNN site, which doesn’t seem to indicate either the sample size or the margin of error.) That presumably large margin of error could explain why the same poll, in response to a different question, finds that 70% of white Jews voted for Obama.
That could mean that Black and Hispanic Jews voted overwhelmingly for Romney. Much more likely it means that this exit poll doesn’t tell us much.
In 2008, exit polls didn’t question enough Jews in Florida to break down the proportion of Florida Jewish voters who voted for Obama and McCain. Nationally, exit polls found that 74% of Jews voted for Obama in 2008.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.