Poll: Obama behind Democratic predecessors


American Jews are less supportive of Barack Obama than previous Democratic nominees, a new poll found.

The lack of support comes despite overwhelming unhappiness with the Bush administration.

The survey, commissioned by the Washington-based advocacy organization J Street, found that only 58 percent of American Jews said they would definitely vote for Obama, an Illinois senator. Another 4 percent said they were leaning toward the presumptive Democratic nominee.

In contrast, Al Gore and Bill Clinton both drew approximately 80 percent of the Jewish vote in their respective runs for the presidency, while John Kerry garnered about 76 percent in 2004.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with 3 percent saying they were leaning toward the presumptive GOP nominee. That would represent a higher showing among Jews than the 24 percent President Bush drew in 2004.

The poll, conducted by Gerstein/Agne Strategic Communications and based on interviews with 800 respondents, has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Even as American Jews appear to be displaying some reservations about Obama, they are highly critical of the current White House.

According to the poll, 90 percent of American Jews believe the country is on the wrong track.

Seventy percent said they strongly disapprove of how the president is handling his job, with another 14 percent saying they somewhat disapprove. Bush scored a disapproval rating of 79 percent of his handling of the Iraq war and 71 percent for his handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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