AP’s Erica Werner has a piece out on the Obama administration’s efforts to hold on to the Jewish vote in 2012 despite the president’s coldness toward Israel. According to Werner, “Obama’s approval rating among Jews has fallen from 83 percent in January 2009 to 54 percent in late summer and early fall of this year.” Her article comes in the wake of statements (detailed on the Corner by Patrick Brennan) from Obama’s ambassador to Belgium that seemed to blame Muslim anti-Semitism on Israel.
This drop in Jewish support has to have the Obama campaign feeling nervous, especially since, as Werner notes, “Jewish voters, though comprising only 2 percent of the electorate nationwide, are an important part of Obama’s base and could make the difference in battleground states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada in a close election.” Also, there is the all-important quest for campaign cash. According to Werner, “the Jewish community is an important source of donations, and Obama campaign supporters want to maintain that support as much as Republicans want to chip away at it.”
To deal with Obama’s falling approval rate among Jews, his campaign has hired former National Jewish Democratic Council head Ira Forman as a full-time Jewish-outreach coordinator. (Full disclosure: I am an outside adviser to Romney’s campaign.) Forman assures Werner that ”this campaign takes the Jewish vote very, very seriously” and that he is “confident this will be the most comprehensive effort in presidential campaign history.”
I am sure they do take it seriously — they really need to. I am also confident that they are putting a lot of effort into this endeavor. The challenge for the Obama campaign, however, is that the president’s difficulties with the Jewish community are not based on his outreach level so much as his problematic policies.