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Obama Still Struggling With Jewish Voters

Democrat Barack Obama enjoys a nearly 2-1 advantage among Jewish voters over Republican John McCain, yet his support continues to lag well-behind historical levels that Democrats have enjoyed from the Jewish community, according to a new survey of Jewish voters.

The American Jewish Committee’s 2008 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion shows Obama leading McCain 57 percent to 30 percent. Another 13 percent of the 914 self-identifying Jewish respondents surveyed said they were undecided. Exit polls showed that John Kerry received 76 percent of the Jewish vote in 2004.

The poll is the latest evidence that Obama continues to struggle winning over Jewish voters despite the optimism expressed by campaign aides and members of the National Jewish Democratic Council at the organization’s Washington conference this week.

The telephone survey by Synovate was conducted by Sept. 8-21. It has a 3 percent margin of error.

Nearly three quarters of those surveyed approved of Obama’s selection of Delaware Senator Joseph Biden as his running mate. Fifty-four percent of respondents disapproved of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s choice for vice president.

Democrats have viewed the Palin selection as good news because they say many Jewish voters are turned off by her lack of foreign policy credentials and lack of prior statements about Israel.

More than half of those surveyed – 54 percent – said they want to hear the candidates talk more about the economy. Only 3 percent cites Israel as the issue they want to hear discussed more.

By overwhelming margins, respondents predicted Democrats would do a better job addressing terrorism, strengthening the economy, supporting Israel, working towards energy independence, and the Iraq war.

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