Karl Rove said President Bush made historic inroads among Jewish voters in 2004, a view at odds with the record.
Rove, Bush’s top political adviser, announced his resignation Monday, to take effect Aug. 31. In an interview with reporters aboard Air Force One, Rove said Bush’s decisive 2004 victory vindicated his presidency, which had been dogged by the Florida recount controversy in 2000 and his loss of the popular vote to Al Gore.
“He got historic numbers among Latinos, Jews, Catholics, women – erased the gender gap,” Rove said of the 2004 election.
According to exit polls, Bush increased his Jewish vote from 19 percent in 2000 to as much as 25 percent in 2004.
Jews traditionally have favored Democrats, but Bush’s 2004 boost was nowhere near the gains Ronald Reagan, also a Republican, scored among Jews in 1980, earning nearly 40 percent of their vote. Bush’s father received more than 30 percent of the Jewish vote in 1988, although that dropped to 11 percent by 1992.
Jewish support for Republicans plunged after 2004, and exit polls from the 2006 midterm congressional elections suggested 87 percent Jewish support for Democrats.