Gallup has a new poll that, among other things, shows that Jews are essentially split between Hillary Clinton (49%) and Barack Obama (43%) – the gap falls within the margin of error. Clinton commands a much bigger lead among white Protestants and Catholics. Apparently the Gallup folks think the Jewish figures are the big news, because that’s what they put at the top of their press release:
Obama’s ability to win votes in the U.S. Jewish community has been questioned, given suggestions that he does not support Israel as strongly as other candidates. Some of Obama’s supporters (including the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Obama’s church) and foreign policy advisers are regarded as anti-Israel. Obama has met with Jewish leaders to reassure them of his commitment to Israel.
Is this really a case or Obama’s team doing a great job at reaching out to the Jewish community? Or is it the old line that Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans?
My gut is that neither of these accounts for the finding. In terms of the Obama outreach, the most one could say about it is that it helped him retain Jews who were already inclined to vote for him. But why were they inclined to vote for him?
That’s where we get to the Puerto Rican thing. Could it be that, in this race, Obama is doing relatively well among Jews because nowadays they learn, earn and vote like rich well-educated white people?
JTA’s Ron Kampeas is looking into this question, so stay tuned.