After Obama’s speech on Israel, Republicans sought to revive the perennial storyline that Jewish voters are on the verge of abandoning the Democratic Party. But Gallup’s latest poll of Jewish voters shows that this isn’t happening now anymore than the first hundred times Republicans have made the claim.
Jewish Americans gave President Barack Obama a 60% job approval rating in June, down from 68% in May, but statistically unchanged from 64% in April. Thirty-two percent of U.S. Jews now disapprove of the job Obama is doing, similar to their 30% average thus far in 2011.
In another key number, Gallup notes that among Jewish Democrats, the group Republicans have specifically said were beginning to part ways with Obama, support has remained rock solid, with “86% approving of Obama prior to the speech and 85% after.” While Gallup notes that it’s difficult to gauge the immediate impact of the speech because their tracking poll doesn’t have a large enough sample size of Jewish voters, it nevertheless concludes that “aggregated Gallup Daily tracking interviews for the month and half periods prior to and following the speech show no significant nor sustained shift in Jewish Americans’ views toward Obama.”
Republicans have been pushing this meme hard with a series of distortions Greg has been knocking down. First there was the bogus story that Israeli American billionaire Haim Saban had “broken” with Obama, despite having never donated to him in the first place. Saban actually stuck up for Obama against right-wing distortions of his position on Israel. Then there was the cooked up Washington Times story reporting that the Obama administration’s supposed “bullying” of Israel had been revealed on a recent conference call, which people on the call claimed was false. Aside from attempting to push the “Jews are abandoning Obama” storyline, the purpose of these stories is to strengthen Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s hand politically as he avoids making any effort to reconcile the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even has he offers superficial verbal support for a two-state solution.
Maybe support for Obama among Jews will ultimately erode, and stories suggesting that’s the case are ahead of the curve. The evidence, however, suggests the exact opposite — Jewish voters remain firmly in the Democratic camp, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. But no matter — “Jews abandoning Democrats” is one of those zombie memes sustained by the futile efforts of Jewish conservatives to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy, and as long as it remains a seductive storyline for political reporters and commentators, it’ll never die no matter how many times it’s shown to be false.