Obama swept the US Jewish vote

DESPITE a long and often vicious campaign to paint Barack Obama as anti-Israel, exit polls reveal that more than three quarters of American Jews voted Democratic.

  • NBC television’s exit polls said 77% of Jews voted for Obama; 22% for John McCain
  • CNN television’s exit polls said 78% of Jews voted for Obama; 21% for McCain

No other major religious group voted so overwhelmingly for Obama. Among mainstream Christian denominations, 55% of practicing Catholics voted for Obama, and 45% of Protestants.

In the months before the election, a number of experts predicted that Obama would receive the lowest Jewish vote of any recent Democratic presidential candidate. A Republican campaign to position Obama as untrustworthy on Israel was widely considered to have hit home. So were poison emails describing Obama as a closet Muslim and anti-Semite.

Yet in the end, Jews appear to have voted for Obama in similar numbers to how they voted for previous Democratic candidates such as Al Gore (79%), Bill Clinton (80%) and John Kerry (76%). American Jews, dominated by the Reform movement, remain overwhelmingly liberal in their political attitudes.

The only Democratic candidate to have failed to win the Jewish vote was Jimmy Carter: only 45% of Jews voted for him in his second term run. In Carter’s first term, 70% of Jews voted for him. The candidates who enjoyed the most Jewish support were John F Kennedy (81%), Lyndon Johnson (90%) and Hubert Humphrey (81%).

Jews in high places

There are 13 Jewish senators, the highest number ever, and 31 Jewish congressmen. A total of 59 Jews ran for Congress. In some cases, Jews opposed one another for the same seat. Jews made up 2% of the voting population.