BY Jacob Kamaras/JNS.org
On Nov. 7, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) released the results of a national exit poll of 1,000 Jewish voters, in addition to 600 Jewish voters in Florida and 600 in Ohio, that had President Barack Obama garnering 69 percent of the total Jewish vote, down nine percentage points from 2008. The RJC results mirrored the exit poll numbers for Jewish voters produced by CNN on the night of the election.
Additionally, RJC said that from 2008 to 2012, “The Republican share of the Jewish vote jumped nationally from 22 percent to 32 percent.” The 10-point increase marked the largest Republican gain among Jews since 1972, according to RJC, whose polling was conducted by Arthur J. Finkelstein & Associates.
“The results demonstrate that President Barack Obama and the Democrats saw a significant erosion of support from 2008, while Republicans continued their trend of the last several decades of making inroads in the Jewish community,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a statement.
But Richard Baehr, chief political correspondent for the conservative American Thinker, told JNS.org that, “As best I can tell, the shift in the Jewish vote didn’t shift any states.”
“If the Jewish vote was nine percent more Republican than it was in 2008, when the estimates were 78 percent… maybe it kept the race a little bit closer there than it would have otherwise been, but it didn’t put Romney over the top,” Baehr said, regarding the CNN exit polling. “Even though there was a decline in the number [of Jewish votes for Obama], that it didn’t come into play into shifting any states is not a good sign for those who try to create an image that it is a very important part of the overall electorate.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) revealed its own polling data that showed Obama gaining as many as 117,000 Jewish votes in Florida between late September and Election Day. NJDC’s results said Obama’s Jewish support in Florida stood at 61 percent in late September and increased to 66-68 percent .