Will New Yorkers Split Jewish Vote in ’08?

Pandering to a religious constituency in a presidential election has its ups and downs. The ups: The fundraisers where the … Continued

Pandering to a religious constituency in a presidential election has its ups and downs.

The ups: The fundraisers where the hosts invite all of their fabulous, deep-pocketed co-religionists: The clergy singing your praises (without specifically intoning your name) from the pulpit: Church photo-ops where old women in wheelchairs roll up to you (or are launched in your direction by shameless staffers) and clutch your hand at precisely the moment that the guy from AP is snapping pictures.

And then there are the votes. Oh the votes! For it sometimes happens that a religious group votes in a block.

Professor Berlinerblau’s Law: it is worthwhile to pander to a religious constituency when the constituency in question will give you over 75% of its ballot.

Corollary to Professor Berlinerblau’s Law: the religious constituency in question had better be large enough to merit your attention, so Shakers are definitely out.

But Jews are in. Even though they comprise only 2.2 percent of the U.S. population (roughly 6.5 million Americans), Jews are concentrated in states of great electoral relevance (New York, California, Florida). Too, they have demonstrated the aforementioned unanimity in presidential contests. In 2004, 76% voted for John Kerry. In 2000, 79% for Gore. In 1996, 78% for Clinton. In 1992, 80 percent for the same candidate.

It stands to reason that if Hillary Clinton wins her party’s nomination in 2008 she should fare swimmingly among Jewish voters. Democrats always do. Save a little slip up involving Suha Arafat in 1999–these things happen–the senator from New York has enthusiastic support from this group.

Yup. Hillary should do just fine among Jews. Just fine. Unless, of course, her opponent is named Rudy. This is, after all, a politician who took 75% of the Jewish vote in the 1997 mayoral race while running against a Jewish candidate, Ruth Messinger.

Giuliani’s popularity among this group is not difficult to comprehend. As far as many are Jews are concerned, he is a Democrat–a Democrat with an edge. Like most Democrats, he is moderate on abortion and gay rights. Like most Democrats (with the possible exception of Dennis Kucinich) he is an unwavering supporter of Israel.

But this brings us to the edge: little in Giuliani’s past indicates that he would be reluctant to either respond to, or preempt, any threat posed by rogue states, Iran in particular. (That the American Center is unsettled by Ahmadinejad’s regime is clearly something that the Clinton campaign has picked up on as well).

It is this combination of mainstream views on social issues and a hawkish foreign policy that will impel Jewish voters to give Giuliani a much closer look than any Republican presidential nominee since Reagan. In was in the 1980 election, incidentally, that Jews gave 39% of their vote to The Great Communicator (and 45% to Carter and 14% to Anderson).

The Jewish block was politically fractured. And as we shall see in the next discussion, a fractured religious constituency is the dreaded downside of faith-based pandering.

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
November 8, 2007; 11:34 AM ET

 | Category: 

The God Vote


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  • Robert B.

    A question for Mr. Berlinerblau:Why is it “pandering” to speak to religious groups and just plain listening to concerns with other groups?

  • BGone

    It doesn’t matter. Haven’t you heard the news. God has spoken. Rudy Giuliani won the 2008 election.Pride of the Marines, Lt Pat Robertson, the only Marine in the history of the Corps to suffer combat fatigue days before the battle began, Inchon, Korea, 1950, has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president.”A noun, a verb and 9-11.”We can all get a good nights sleep tonight.

  • arlan

    If you like Bush, you’ll love Rudy. Especially the Isreali lobby.

  • david

    Why is it pandering you ask? Because pandering in this case suggests denying the best interests of AMERICA in order to gain monetary support from American – traitors who have greater loyalty to Isreal. American foreign policy interests dont coincide with those of Isreal no matter how much money is thrown into the equation by pro – isreali lobbys.

  • david

    Why is it pandering you ask? Because pandering in this case suggests denying the best interests of AMERICA in order to gain monetary support from American – traitors who have greater loyalty to Isreal. American foreign policy interests dont coincide with those of Isreal no matter how much money is thrown into the equation by pro – isreali lobbys.

  • Anonymous

    These foreign policy geniuses might want to learn how to spell Israel correctly.

  • Anonymous2oo

    Anonymous:Isreal is a question. Israel is _________

  • Bill

    Mr Berlinerblau must certainly be making a joke. No poll anywhere suggests that American Jews are anywhere but solidly in the blue camp for this one. You’ll notice even in his stats that the majority of Jews have been voting for the left-most candidate in every election since 1850. You’ll notice a correlation between percentage of Jews in a state and its likelihood of voting for the leftern candidate. And you’ll not neglect to mention that the Reagan 1980 election was a gigantic landslide, determined not by the Jewish vote but by the American public’s overwhelming irritation at Jimmy Carter. Now, I wouldn’t suggest Reagan was better, but even in that stat. the Jewish vote would still have put him back in office.I resent that Norman Crackpot Pothoretz has become the spokesman for my group. More to the point: the neocons may be heavily Jewish, but the Jews are not heavily neocon. And we, our votes and our money, will bear our desire for social justice, not for tribalism (of any stripe) (nevermind idiotically imagined manipulation — where’s my check anyway?) once again in the 2008 election.Vote Obama!Bill

  • Hondo

    David: So Dave,how do you know these folks are traitors ? Huh, Dave? How do you know these folks have a greater loyalty to Israel than this USA ? How many ? Huh, Davie ? What policy interests differ Dave ? Why should should the USA give up on Israel, huh Dave ? Is it oil,dates, camels, shared values with Iran,Syria ? These “traitors” need your help, as well as the Turkish, Armenian,Irish, Italian,UK lobbies. OK Davie, my bro ?

  • Francine

    Yea David above!!!

  • BGone

    “The Jewish block was politically fractured. And as we shall see in the next discussion, a fractured religious constituency is the dreaded downside of faith-based pandering.”I take it Jews aren’t classified as evangelicals.Let the fracturing begin. The “sub prime” loan game isn’t doing Republicans a lot of good and especially when half the foreclosures are defaulting conforming loans. I wonder how Jews stack up in that pile. Evangelicals? Anyone think to break that down along religious/ethnic/racial lines? Devil is loose somewhere all the time and seems to be looking for a cheap home at the moment. Wholesale maybe?

  • Candida

    Begone: OH…do start sneering some more about how jews are superior…to smart to buy subprime loans…which are only for Evangalicals. So, sneer some more. Do.

  • Candida

    Begone: OH…do start sneering some more about how jews are superior…to smart to buy subprime loans…which are only for Evangalicals. So, sneer some more. Do.

  • Candida

    Begone: OH…do start sneering some more about how jews are superior…to smart to buy subprime loans…which are only for Evangalicals. So, sneer some more. Do.

  • Candida

    Begone: OH…do start sneering some more about how jews are superior…too smart to buy subprime loans…which are only for Evangalicals. So, sneer some more. Do. Worked so well in times past…

  • BGone

    Candida:What? I think Jews are just as likely to “buy sub prime” as anyone else. In fact, isn’t Robert Ruben Jewish? I really don’t know. Ruben sounds Jewish to me but I make lots of bad guesses.Financial genius, Robert, (not Bob, too informal) Ruben is the brains behind sub prime lending at Citibank? That’s a question like what is the breakdown by group of those that “bought” sub prime lending? Robert was way too smart for the piddly job of Secretary of Treasury.Seems to me some really smart people got in on the sub prime ground floor. You are paying attention? Judging from the look on Bernanke’s face the whole banking system may be “under water.”What? Me worry? No way. The hit is big but not that big. Case in point:Citibank has 400 billion outstanding. Assets less than 800 billion. 400 is more than half. But it’s not a total loss. Only half will default. That pears it down to 200 billion. Only 40% of the 200 billion is a loss, it’s secured by real estate that historically drops 40% at times like this. So the total loss is likely 80 billion. How much money is that? Chicken feed for the Bush gang. They spill more than that buying $22 each meals for soldiers in Iraq that aren’t even there.Candida, you aren’t screaming are you? Something get fractured? Cheer up. Things will get a lot worse before they get better. And I never judge a group by the actions of any one member or even small sub group. That’s Jacques Berlinerblau job, I think. He has some interesting stats and I wondered if other somewhat interesting stats even existed.

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