A new McLaughlin poll of Jewish voters has only 42 percent of Jews saying that they’d vote to reelect Obama. Forty-six percent of Jews said they would be open to voting for someone else. The Jewish vote, while somewhat small, is significant. If the 2012 GOP candidate could approach the 39 percent post-war high-water mark set by Reagan, it would eat into Obama’s expected support in important purple states like Florida and Ohio.
While this poll does demonstrate some level of Jewish disappointment with Obama, it is far too early to say that 2012 is the election that will break their longstanding attachment to the Democratic party. Some of my fellow Jewish Republicans were excited when polls in 2008 had John McCain in the low 30s against Obama. He ended up in the low 20s on Election Day, and just about every Jewish Republican had the same experience I did: Droves of Democratic Jews told us that they would have voted for McCain if he had not picked Sarah Palin as his VP nominee.
They may or may not have been telling the truth — I suspect many would have found a different excuse for not going with McCain at the end of the day. But breaking the Jewish addiction to voting Democratic is a multi-step process, and thinking about McCain was one step. Seeing Obama in action appears to be another.