Barack Obama Performs Worse With Jewish Americans Than Past Democrats

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Performs Worse With Jewish Americans Than Past Democrats

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A new poll reveals pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama performs worse with Jewish American voters than previous Democratic presidential hopefuls. The survey also finds Senator John McCain faring better than President Bush did in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

The polling firm Gerstein/Agne Strategic Communications conducted the survey for the liberal lobbying group J Street.

It found just 58 percent of Jewish voters said they would definitely vote for Obama and another four percent leaning his direction. Conversely, former candidates Al Gore and Bill Clinton both drew nearly 80 percent of the Jewish vote while John Kerry garnered more than 75 percent in 2004.

The new survey found 29 percent of Jewish voters backing Senator McCain and another three percent saying they were leaning in his direction. That would be higher than the 24 percent Bush drew in 2004.

Gallup has released similar polls showing Obama faring worse with Jewish voters than previous Democratic candidates.

If that trend holds, Obama could have a harder time capturing top battleground states like Florida and Ohio that have a higher percentage of Jewish voters.

Suzanne Kurtz, press secretary for the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper she thinks McCain has a stronger appeal to Jewish voters than prior GOP candidates.

“The Jewish community is responding to John McCain’s proven ability to reach across the aisle to try and solve America’s difficult problems in a bipartisan way,” she said. “And most importantly, McCain has been a reliable friend and supporter of Israel and the Jewish community throughout his 25-year career in Congress.

"On the other hand, the Jewish community is reluctant to gamble on Senator Obama’s thin record and lack of experience," she added.

Ira Forman, the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, told the Chronicle he thinks the numbers will revert back to their normal levels with more Jewish voters find out McCain is pro-life on abortion.

However, pro-life leaders within the Jewish community have been more active in recent years.

in December, the chief rabbinic council in Israel released a new opinion confirming that abortions constitute a “grave sin” and saying they are delaying the coming of the Messiah.

"The vast majority of abortions are unnecessary and strictly forbidden according to halacha because they are carried out even when the pregnancies do not endanger the mother’s health," the rabbis wrote.

They said those kinds of abortions for socioeconomic reasons or the mother not wanting the baby at the time are delaying the coming of the Messiah, who Jews believe was not represented by Jesus Christ.

Jews typically believe that the Messiah will not come until all of the children who could be born to Jewish mothers are born.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, a widely respected Jewish leader in the U.S., says , according to the Mishnah, a record of oral interpretations of the Hebrew Scriptures, abortion is only permitted when a woman is in "hard travail" and her life is in danger.
He said the instances where a pregnancy poses a serious threat to the mother are very rare — so Jews should oppose most abortions.

Not even in the most lenient interpretations, Rabbi Freundel told a group at a National Right to Life convention, is there anything that allows abortion on demand.

Before Congress gave final approval to the first partial-birth abortion ban, he obtained more than 200 signatures of rabbis from Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox traditions on a statement supporting the pro-life bill.


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