Who’s polling Jewish Democrats?


Dick Morris has a column in The New York Post with results of a new poll of Jewish Democratic sentiment on President Obama and Israel. More interesting than the poll results, though, is the group that commissioned the survey — the Traditional Values Coalition.

A TVC meeting is just about the last place you’d go if you were looking to find Jewish Democrats. According to its Web site, the TVC represents 43,000 evangelical churches and emphasizes “the restoration of the values needed to maintain strong, unified families,” with a focus on issues including “religious liberties, marriage, the right to life, the homosexual agenda, pornography, family tax relief and education.”

So why is TVC doing a poll of 500 self-identified Jewish Democrats? The organization’s spokesman, Jim Lafferty, said his group has been “active in the evanglical-Jewish coalition” and “strongly supports Israel” and was curious to see whether the Jewish electorate “sides with Mr. Obama or Mr. Netanyahu.”

Lafferty was vague on who exactly his organization works with in the Jewish community, saying that it worked more with individuals than any specific group. (I do recall seeing TVC executive director Andrea Lafferty in attendance while covering Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s Toward Tradition conference in Washington, but that was about nine years ago — so long ago that then-lobbyist Jack Abramoff presented an award to then-House Majority Leader Tom Delay at the event.) He also said TVC does not work with the pro-Israel evangelical organization Christians United for Israel.

Lafferty said his group would be releasing the full poll results on Monday. Morris spins the results as boding ill for Obama because it appears Jewish Democrats aren’t paritcularly supportive of Obama’s peace efforts in the Middle East. For instance, 44 percent said “Obama is naïve in thinking he can make peace with the Arabs,” compared to 37 percent who disagree with that statement. And just 20 percent agreed with the statement that "if Israel could settle its dispute with the Palestinian refugees and give them a nation of their own, that the Arabs would live in peace with Israel" while 52 percent chose "the Arabs will never live in peace with Israel and that giving them a nation of their own will just make them stronger.”

Yet there are results which also reveal that Obama is extremely popular, and that American Jews are generally positive about the peace push. Morris writes that Jewish Dems give Obama a 92 percent approval rating; and that by a 58-16 margin they believe that “Obama is doing a good job of promoting peace in the Middle East.”

So depending on the question, the poll seems to back up both Obama supporters and critics. More to come after the results and methodology are released.

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