Jews = Dems

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A big new study by Steven Cohen et al. suggests that Jews will be voting for Obama by something like the hefty margins that they support most Democratic presidential candidates. The survey of nearly 1,600 was done right after the Republican convention, when the race was even among white voters generally. Throwing out the undecideds, Jews broke 67-33 for Obama. Given that Obama has pulled ahead since then, the authors estimate that the Jewish vote will end up being 75-25 for Obama. That’s in the territory of Kerry-Bush (76-24) and Gore-Bush (79-19). To me it seems a little high, but after the Great Schlep, who knows?
Besides the numbers, the authors have a couple of important analytic points to make. First, while those Jewish voters who rate Israel tend more toward McCain, Israel ranks in the top three issues for only 15 percent of them. And second, the reason why Jewish voters prefer Democrats so strongly is that they are, well, strong Democrats. That is to say, when you do the regressions, party loyalty is the key factor explaining (to the tune of 80 percent) why Jews are supporting Obama. (As opposed to income, education, policy preferences, etc.) Other white voters who identify with the Democratic party are almost as likely as Jews to prefer Obama. This does not, of course, explain why Jews should continue to identify so much more strongly as Democrats than other whites. This, I believe, has something to do with the extent to which the GOP has connected itself to the religious right. But there’s no regression analysis to show that here.

  • Ronald Kiener

    “Throwing out the undecideds”?…Well, if you INCLUDE the undecideds it is 51-25 in favor of Obama, with 24% undecided. Why oh why will the undecideds break for Obama? If the undecideds break evenly, I’m still betting that Obama will win the Jews nationally, but by low numbers, nowhere near Kerry or Gore, more like Carter II. We’ll see soon enough.

  • Mark Silk

    Cohen believes that Jewish support for Obama has increased alongside growing support among whites generally since the GOP convention. His guess is that, the remaining undecideds will break according to his new estimate of the division among Jewish voters. I have been guessing that they will end up in the 70-30 range–and I’d be more surprised by 75-25 than 67-33. As you say, we’ll see soon enough.