Is there a chance Jewish voters will vote not quite so overwhelmingly Democratic in the presidential election? The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz asked the experts: Jewish grandmas and grandpas in Florida. Their reviews of Mitt Romney were mixed.
When Romney gave a speech in Jerusalem last week, Sheldon Adelson -- a major Romney donor who funds Birthright tours of Israel -- said that his candidate would appeal to American Jewish voters "If they hear it." Did they? Horowitz reports:
“I heard it!” said Margie Rosen, 84, leaning on her cane outside Sage Bagel and Deli on Monday morning. A clock above the selection of white fish and black-and-white cookies read, “Be a Mensch...” Rosen agreed with Romney that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel, but she didn’t like that he talked about it publicly. “That’s a problem they have to solve.”
But Jews tend to vote very Democratic. An anonymous Floridian told the Post, that winning over Jews would be hard: "They are strictly Democrats and they are not changing! ... How are you going to change their minds? They just say, 'oy vey.'" Some Obama backers told the newspaper there were other issues that mattered, like Medicare, just like your average gray-haired voter.
Republicans quadrennially think this is the year to win back the Jewish vote. Adelson has pledged to spent $6.5 million to organize Jewish voters for Romney in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Last fall, when Republican Bob Turner won a special election in a traditionally Democratic congressional district in New York, the Drudge Report declared it was "REVENGE OF THE JEWS." But in September, the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling found that Obama had a 76 percent approval rating among Jewish voters in Florida. In March, The Jewish Week reported that an American Jewish Committee poll found that Obama's support among all Jewish voters rise to 61 percent from 45 percent in September. So it seems Jewish grandmas are still hesitant to welcome Romney into the family.