Next week I am going to post copiously about the 2008 Jewish vote as well as convening a conference and press gathering on the subject at Georgetown University. But before heading out to the office to work on that, I want to quickly draw your attention to a recently released Gallup Poll that challenges some conventional wisdom.
Many of us have been laboring under the assumption that young Florida Jews (as cajoled by Sarah Silverman) are inclined to vote for Obama. And many of us have been positing that older Florida Jews (as cajoled by Jackie Mason) are inclined to vote for McCain. For this reason, Ms. Silverman and others have organized a “great schlep” geared at getting Jewish grandparents to vote for the Democrat.
The problem is that aforesaid poll points to precisely the opposite nationwide trend. The results indicate that Jews 55 and older prefer Obama at a rate of 74%, while Jews between the ages of 18-34 prefer him at 67% (In fact, these younger Jews are far more likely to describe themselves as Conservative).
Put differently, Sarah Silverman might have been better advised to schlep out to campus Hillels in Florida, or places where Members of the Tribe like to skateboard, surf and tally scores in competitive J-dating competitions.
And since the over 55s show the strongest support for Obama, Jackie Mason might have gotten more bang for his buck if he directed his appeals not to seniors, but twenty somethings. In the process he could have helped researchers better understand the effects of jokes written in the Pleistocene era on the nation’s youth.
This is all quite fascinating, but one proviso is in order: elderly Florida Jews might be something of an exception to the national Jewish rule. Unlike most of their co-religionists of the same age bracket across the nation, the Seed of Abraham in the Sunshine State retains a large proportion of migrants from other American cities.
These would be the same cities in which Black/Jewish tensions on the local level and the political level tended to spiral out of control from the 1960s to 1990s. Such a cohort might, at worst, harbor racist attitudes or, at best, look at African-American politicians with great skepticism.
In any case, the poll should make the Obama folks quite happy (another Quinnipiac Poll shows that he is doing fine among Jews in Florida). All of this suggests that, overall, he has no Jewish problem unless there is a Jewish Bradley Effect (The Brad Levy Effect).
More on Jews, lots more, next week.
By Jacques Berlinerblau |
October 23, 2008; 11:55 PM ET
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