Campaign Confidential

Democrats Predict 'Historic' Jewish Vote for Obama

By Brett Lieberman

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Barack Obama is under-performing in his support among Jewish voters compared to Democratic candidates’ historical performance, according to pollsters. Yet Jewish leaders in Congress predict the soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee will exceed Democrats’ usual support within the Jewish community.

“We believe there is broad, deep and enthusiastic support for Barack Obama in the Jewish community,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said in a news conference announced after elected officials from Florida voiced concerns about the response to Obama in that key state.

Obama’s been a strong and unwavering supporter of Israel — “He never flinched from it,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. — and has also supported legislative proposals to prohibit U.S. pension funds and companies from doing business with Iran, Democratic leaders said.

“Let the Jewish community know that Barack Obama is a friend of Israel,” said U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Obama’s support for abortion rights, gun control, health care, Social Security and other domestic issues is more in sync with the views of Jewish voters, they said.

Earlier this week, pollsters Anna Greenberg and Mark Mellman said that Obama is garnering the support of around 60% to 62% of Jewish voters, which puts him at the low end of the spectrum that Democratic candidates have historically enjoyed. Since the early 1990s when the Republican Party embraced the evangelical community, the Jewish vote has shifted heavily to Democrats, who have won close to 80% of the Jewish vote.

The lawmakers contend that Obama’s support will grow to record levels by the November 4 election.

“The support that Sen. Obama enjoys …is substantial and growing,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla.

California Rep. Adam Schiff predicted “historically high” support for Obama.

Nobody doubts that Obama will win a majority of the Jewish vote. But the question remains whether the margin will be a historically high or low.

“I believe Obama is poised to do well,” said Wexler.


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