Do Jewish voters hold the key to the election?


The Huffington Post’s Andrea Stone had an article yesterday titled: "Jewish Vote In Ohio, Florida May Be Presidential Election Key."

She writes:

The push to win a particular 2 percent of the population entered its last hours Monday, with both presidential candidates’ seeking an edge with Jewish voters who may play a deciding role in the key battleground states of Ohio and Florida.

Stone’s article includes a nice overview of efforts by Jewish Democrats and Republicans to secure Jewish votes.

But are Jewish voters really likely to play a "deciding role"? Sure, if it’s a close election that hangs on the outcomes in these two states, a small shift in Jewish votes could make the difference. But the same could be said regarding just about any subset of Floridians or Ohioans (or residents of several other swing states) whose votes aren’t set in stone. (And most Jewish votes were more or less set in stone this election year.)

There is a strong casse to me made fro some skepticism regarding the significance of the Jewish vote. In The Times of Israel, Haviv Rettig Gur writes:

For all the sound and fury, experts who study Jewish voting patterns believe the Jewish vote, or what little we can discern about it, isn’t up for grabs. And even if it was, they say, it’s extremely unlikely to mean much on Tuesday.

And is there even any such thing as a "Jewish vote"?

As Gur notes:


Jews are disproportionately more likely to vote — and to write and talk about their vote — than other Americans. But this laudable civic engagement does not translate into a “Jewish” vote, at least in the narrow sense of voting based on the sort of Israel-related advertising that has made up much of the Jewish outreach in this campaign.

The American-election-obsessed Israeli journalist Shmuel Rosner — who as much as anyone has closely scrutinized the Jewish vote — wrote last month that the Jewish vote probably isn’t as consequential as the amount of attention that is paid to it would seem to suggest.

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