Monday, August 20, 2012

How Obama's Bibigate Could Cost Him The Presidency

What I have been saying all the time as a lone voice, the Boston Globe now sees or at least previews in details, that Obama's presidency is in jeopardy due to the bloody relationship with Israeli PM Netanyahu. A Flip of 10-15 percent in support among Jewish voters - especially in the heavy contested swing states - could end up costing Obama the presidency. 

The words speak for themselves. If Obama won Florida over McCain with roughly 3 points (51-48.2), there's no question that however u look at it - if the trend continues and Obama loses in general around 10 percent of the Jewish support he had in 2008, than in a close election as its predicted to be, a 10 percent shift among Florida Jews (8% of the electorate) is just enough to tilt the state into Romney's electoral column.

"President Obama appears to be losing some support among Jewish voters in the critical swing state of Florida, according to Jewish political activists and demographers.

Most estimates range from 3 percent to low double digits, but any slippage for Obama will be magnified by the traditionally outsized turnout of this core Democratic constituency. Jews constitute only 3 percent of the state’s population but cast their ballots in such large numbers that they can account for 7 or 8 percent of the total vote.

“A small shift in the Jewish vote can make a difference,” said Ira Sheskin, a University of Miami professor who is director of the Jewish Demography Project there. In recent polls, Obama led Mitt Romney in Florida overall by an average of only 1.4 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.

The economy remains the top concern of Jewish voters, according to surveys, but Obama’s opposition to Israeli settlements, his contentious relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his reluctance to rattle the saber against Iran are worrying some Jewish supporters..

“The 78 percent that Barack Obama got in the Jewish community four years ago is off the table,” said Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. “Barack Obama will get a majority of the Jewish vote, but he won’t get two-thirds.”

Dinerstein, the first Jew to lead the county GOP, predicted that Obama would win 60 to 65 percent of that vote. As a result, he said, “when you take 10, 15 points of the Jewish vote and flip them, the state’s gone, believe me.”

Alan Bergstein, 79, who performs Republican outreach to the Jewish community in Boca Raton, Fla., said that “little by little, the Jews are moving into Romney’s camp.” However, he added, many of them will not publicly discuss their shift. If they did, Bergstein said, “they’d get thrown out of the card game and into the pool.

Any significant erosion of Obama’s support among the 639,000 Jews who live in Florida would have an outsize impact because their turnout could be near or more than 90 percent, Sheskin said. And any shift in Florida, as political analysts quickly point out, can be golden. In 2000, the state — and the presidency — were decided by a bitterly disputed margin of 537 votes that propelled George W. Bush to victory over Al Gore.

But even if a shift is fairly small, the reliability of the Jewish vote seems less ironclad. For example, the cofounder of a pro-Obama super-PAC estimated that 15 percent of Jewish voters who backed Obama in 2008 are reconsidering their support.

“We have had to spend much more time than we did in ’08, talking to people whom I would call the base of the Democratic Party, to get them reengaged,” said Mik Moore, cofounder of the super PAC Jewish Council for Education and Research.

“In my congregation, there’s still lots of support for Obama,” said Rabbi Barry Silver, who leads a reform synagogue in Lake Worth, Fla., just south of West Palm Beach. “However, since the last election, I have noticed Obama’s support slipping across all denominational lines.”

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