Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Weekly Music Show: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's new album

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Revolt in New Caledonia and rebuilding homes in Libya

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

UK coalition split on 'English votes for English laws'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukraine: Activists launch 'Blood Bucket Challenge'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ioannis Kasoulides, Cypriot Foreign Minister

Read more

FOCUS

Why do international students choose Paris?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French firms aim to crack 'big data' market

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French papers react to Sarkozy's TV return

Read more

#TECH 24

Anonymous ‘declare cyber war’ on IS militants

Read more

Americas

Obama and Florida Jews: through thick and thin?

Text by Jon FROSCH

Latest update : 2012-11-03

Republicans feel confident that Romney can peel away some of Obama’s support among American Jews – especially in Florida, with its older, staunchly pro-Israel Jewish population. But on the ground, voters tell a different story.

Aside from African-Americans, Jewish-Americans have been the Democratic Party’s most steadfast constituency.

Barack Obama won an estimated 78% of the “Jewish vote” in the 2008 election, and Democratic nominees before him, like John Kerry and Bill Clinton, enjoyed similar levels of support.

But Republicans have long vowed to chip away at that loyalty, emphasizing their staunch pro-Israel positions and more aggressively courting Jewish voters.

This election season has seen that effort intensified. Romney has hammered Obama for “throwing Israel under the bus” by not taking a tougher stance on Iran, and has talked up his friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Republican Jewish Coalition, a conservative Jewish-American lobby, has released ads slamming the president for his proposal that Israel return to the borders it had before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war in order to advance the peace process.

Nationally, Jews make up only 2% of the adult population. But in the hotly contested swing state of Florida, they make up a larger share of registered voters (3.4%) and up to 8% of Floridians who end up going to the polls are Jewish. Furthermore, half of the state’s Jewish population is over 65 years old and tends to be fiercely protective of Israel.

“When elections are close, the Jewish vote in Florida can make a difference,” said
Dr. Ira M. Sheskin, director of the Jewish Demography Project at the University of Miami. “Florida’s Jews care about Israel, but like most American Jews, they care most about issues of social and economic justice. They are pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, and care about taxes, education, and gas prices.”

Sheskin pointed out that a recent Gallup survey showed 70% of Florida Jews intending to vote for Obama, and qualified the relationship between Obama and US Jews at large as “generally solid”.

Still, Sheskin noted: “If Romney can peel off some of Florida’s elderly Jews, that could decide the election.”

France24.com stopped in Palm Beach County, home to one of the country’s highest concentrations of Jewish voters – many of them retirees originally from the Northeast.

Here is what we found.











 

Date created : 2012-11-02

  • US ELECTION 2012

    LGBT voters join frontline of Obama campaign

    Read more

  • US ELECTIONS 2012

    'I voted for Marine Le Pen and Barack Obama'

    Read more

  • US ELECTION 2012

    In Miami early voting, long lines and clashing opinions

    Read more

COMMENT(S)