March 30, 2004

Is the Jewish Vote in Play?

I'd say the jury is out, but Republicans are actively reaching out to Jewish groups, some major Jewish donors are defecting to the GOP, and Democrats are clearly nervous:

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), surprised members of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America during remarks at a luncheon when he acknowledged there is a perception among many Jews that Democrats are not strong enough on the issue of Israeli security.

However, he insisted the perception is not true.

A lot of us were quite struck that he would say that, said a high-ranking official with the group.

The article, from The Hill, notes that " While President Bush won only 19 percent of the Jewish vote in 2000, Republican candidates garnered 35 percent of the Jewish vote in 2002," but it's hard to know how much to read into that; I spent election night 2002 at the victory party for congressman Mark Kirk, a fairly liberal (but strong on defense) Illinois Republican with a notable bloc of Jewish constituents, and met at least one Kirk supporter who disliked the President. But the most striking statistic-- which I hadn't seen-- is that "In the era of soft money, an estimated 50 to 70 percent of large contributions to the Democratic Party and allied political units came from Jewish donors" (empasis added). Small wonder that they're worried.

Apropos, my father has just started a blog focusing specifically on Jews' peculiar allegiance to the Democratic party.

Posted by John Tabin at March 30, 2004 02:49 AM