NEW YORK (Nov. 8)
Almost three times as many Jews voted for President Nixon yesterday as voted for him in 1968, election returns indicated this morning. While a precise tally of the Jewish vote was not available nationwide and may not be for several days, returns from some key districts showed that while Nixon succeeded in almost tripling his Jewish vote in his landslide victory, a majority of Jewish voters still favored the Democratic candidate,. Sen. George McGovern.
According to the emerging picture today, based on surveys of sample precincts by news media including the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nixon polled about 39 percent of the Jewish vote nationally and his opponent 61 percent. These results are almost exactly the reverse of the general election returns which gave the President his overwhelming victory.
Returns available showed that the heaviest volume of Jewish votes for Nixon were registered in areas beset by racial tensions. The President polled 25 percent of Michigan’s Jewish vote compared to 10-12 percent four years ago. Busing with its racial overtones has been a major issue in Detroit, Flint and Pontiac, Similarly, Brooklyn’s heavily Jewish Canarsie district which is in the throes of a busing controversy gave Nixon 54 percent of its vote compared to 23 percent in 1968. In another heavily Jewish Brooklyn district, Sheepshead Bay, Nixon polled 30 percent of the vote compared to 11 percent four years ago.
ORTHODOX, HASIDIC JEWS BOOST NIXON VOTE
In Jewish neighborhoods such as Douglaston and Forest Hills, Queens, where a bitter controversy is still raging over a low income housing project, Humphrey’s 3-1 margin of 1968 was trimmed to 60-40 for McGovern. In the predominantly Jewish neighborhoods of Midwood, Flatbush and Coney Island in Brooklyn, McGovern came out ahead by 20,000 votes. In Manhattan, McGovern ran 70,000 votes behind Humphrey’s 1968 plurality of 242,000 votes but maintained Humphrey’s pace in Jewish districts on the East Side.
In some parts of New York City, Nixon’s stronger showing among Jewish voters was attributed to the heavy support he received in Orthodox and Hasidic neighborhoods, But it was also apparent that the Jewish vote for McGovern was higher than that of any other white ethnic group. Roman Catholic neighborhoods in New York and other cities voted overwhelmingly for Nixon.
No ethnic voting patterns were available for the Baltimore-Washington area today. But according to local news media, every voting precinct in Maryland outside of Baltimore city and the District of Columbia, both heavily Black, gave Nixon a majority. This doubtlessly includes the affluent Jewish suburbs of Baltimore and Washington such as Rockville, Wheat on and Silver Spring. An estimated 240,000 Jews live in the “bedroom” communities surrounding Baltimore and the nation’s capital.
JEWISH ISSUES STRESSED BY BOTH CANDIDATES
Jewish voting patterns in the 1972 elections were of particular interest in view of the intensive efforts made by both candidates to woo the Jewish voter. While Jews comprise only three percent of the population, Jewish votes are crucial in six key states–New York, Florida, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Accordingly, both candidates stressed issues of special concern to Jews beyond the purely domestic economic and social Issues. These were primarily support for Israel’s security and concern over the mistreatment of Soviet Jews. In Cleveland, Ohio, Rep. Charles Vanik, a non-Jewish Democrat, won a 10th two-year Congressional term with an estimated 92 percent of the Jewish vote. Vanik introduced an amendment to the East-West Trade Act opposing most favored nation status and other trade concessions to the Soviet Union until Moscow cancels its head tax and other obstacles to Jewish emigration.
McGovern appears to have won 52-54 percent of Ohio’s Jewish vote, but far below the 80 percent polled by the 1968 Democratic candidate, Hubert H. Humphrey. Middle East policy was an issue in Ohio’s Jewish community but so were domestic issues relating to race and the economy.
BELIEVED NIXON DELIVERED ON PLEDGES
Nixon’s improved showing among Jews was attributed in large measure to a feeling in many Jewish circles that he has “delivered” on his pledges of support for Israel while McGovern was an unknown quantity despite his many pro-Israel statements. There was also a tendency among many Jews to link McGovern with the stridently anti-Israel New Left and other radicals who have adopted a pro-Arab stance.
Such attitudes are believed to have played a part in Jewish defections from their traditional loyalty to the Democratic Party. In 1952, for example, 73,9 percent of the nation’s Jews voted for Adlai Stevenson, and in 1956, 77 percent, although Stevenson’s opponent was the national hero, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In Los Angeles, the 1968 Jewish vote was 85 percent for Humphrey; in 1964, 90 percent went to President Johnson; and in 1960, 83 percent to John F. Kennedy. Those figures, considered fairly representative of the Jewish votes in the country as a whole, indicated the extent of Jewish loyalty to the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt. That loyalty, though visibly diminished according to the results of yesterday’s voting, remained intact.
Nevertheless, Lawrence Goldberg, executive director of the Concerned Citizens for the Re-Election of the President, a pro-Nixon Jewish group, claimed an outstanding victory for Nixon among Jewish voters in an interview this morning with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Washington. Goldberg claimed that Nixon received 40 percent of the national Jewish vote, approximately triple the number he received four years ago.
Richard Cohen, who headed the Jewish affairs unit of the McGovern-Shriver campaign committee, told the JTA today that “No matter what the precise figure on the Jewish vote was, the fact is that the Jewish vote remained overwhelmingly Democratic.”