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September 14th, 2011
10:14 AM ET

Does Dems' loss mean trouble with Jewish voters?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Republicans jumped on the Democrats’ Tuesday loss of the congressional seat given up by disgraced U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner as a sign of eroding Jewish support for President Barack Obama and his party.

New York’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District, centered on Brooklyn and Queens, is one of the most Jewish in the nation, and the Democratic candidate was an Orthodox Jew.

"This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community,” Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matt Brooks said after Republican Bob Turner won Tuesday’s special election, an outcome that few had predicted a couple of months ago.

“While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this President's policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy,” Brooks said in a statement late Tuesday. "Bob Turner's win tonight has huge implications for 2012 races in states with large Jewish communities, such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.”

Turner, a former cable television executive who faced a steep fundraising disadvantage against Democrat David Weprin, framed the race as a referendum on Obama. He continually blasted the president’s posture toward Israel as insufficiently supportive.

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a Jewish Democrat, endorsed Turner for Congress, citing Israel as the primary reason.

“My support for Mr. Turner is intended to send a message to President Obama that he cannot throw Israel under the bus with impunity,” Koch wrote recently, explaining his endorsement.

At Turner’s Tuesday night victory party, where there was a heavy Orthodox Jewish presence, Koch said: "I like President Obama. ... I helped get him elected.”

"But he threw Israel under the bus," Koch said.

Recent surveys from the Siena College Research Institute suggested that Weprin suffered from a sharp decline in Jewish support over the course of August, with a 21-point lead among Jewish likely voters dwindling to 6 points last week.

Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said the Democratic candidate's falloff in Jewish support came at the hands of defecting Jewish independents and Republicans. Greenberg estimates that New York’s 9th District is about a quarter Jewish.

A Wednesday polling memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not mention the role of Israel in the New York race, but said that “Republicans used the Karl Rove playbook to scare small, discrete groups of single-issue voters in a low turnout election.”

“For example, Tea Party Republican Bob Turner played on New Yorkers fear and anxiety around the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,” the memo said. “Turner’s TV ads and mailers included images of the TwinTowers burning and the so-called Ground Zero mosque. Republican outside groups targeted Republican voters, Italian and Irish Catholics, and Orthodox Jews.”

Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis criticized Weprin during the campaign for supporting same-sex marriage as a New York state assemblyman. The National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage, spent $75,000 to defeat Weprin, including through mailers to Jewish voters.

“NOM played a major role in this election, helping to organize the Jewish and Hispanic communities to coalesce with Republicans, conservative and other pro-family voters,” the group said in a statement Wednesday. “We mounted the first and largest independent expenditure campaign in the race to make marriage a key issue, and we succeeded.”

A Siena poll earlier this month found that 76% of Jewish likely voters in Weiner’s old district said the country is headed in the wrong direction and that just 42% had a favorable view of Obama.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, enjoyed a 76% approval rating among Jewish likely voters in New York’s 9th District.

Democrats have traditionally enjoyed overwhelming levels of Jewish support.

Greenberg said that Obama is suffering among Democratic voters more broadly and that “Jewish voters are no different than all the voters in the district.”

In a May speech, Obama said that Israel's 1967 borders should be a starting point for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and land swaps, provoking criticism from some Jewish leaders.

But a July poll from Gallup found that Obama had a 60% job approval rating among Jewish Americans, and that the speech was "not a watershed in Jewish views toward Obama.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut and an Orthodox Jew, endorsed Weprin over the summer and came to his defense on Israel.

"While David Weprin can be counted on to fight for the safety and security of the State of Israel, we can also rely on him to protect the seniors and working families of Brooklyn and Queens," Lieberman said in July.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism • New York • Politics

soundoff (766 Responses)
  1. A Bible Verse for Godless America: Remembrance

    The word of the LORD came to me:
    “Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

    “‘In the pride of your heart
    you say, “I am a god;
    I sit on the throne of a god
    in the heart of the seas.”
    But you are a mere mortal and not a god,
    though you think you are as wise as a god.
    Are you wiser than Daniel?
    Is no secret hidden from you?
    By your wisdom and understanding
    you have gained wealth for yourself
    and amas-sed gold and silver
    in your treasuries.
    By your great skill in trading
    you have increased your wealth,
    and because of your wealth
    your heart has grown proud.

    “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

    “‘Because you think you are wise,
    as wise as a god,
    I am going to bring foreigners against you,
    the most ruthless of nations;
    they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
    and pierce your shining splendor.
    They will bring you down to the pit,
    and you will die a violent death
    in the heart of the seas.
    Will you then say, “I am a god,”
    in the presence of those who kill you?
    You will be but a mortal, not a god,
    in the hands of those who slay you...

    I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”
    (Ezekiel chapter 28)

    September 15, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • It_flyer

      Written by old, fat middle eastern MEN we see populating the region still today.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Robert

      @ It_flyer Thanks for you RACIST comment.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  2. George

    Got JEWS?

    September 15, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  3. Chuck

    They think the U.S. should be giving more support to a foreign country? Whose side are they on?

    September 15, 2011 at 3:01 am |
  4. RL

    The Palestinians have killed 125 Israeli children since September 2000.

    Israel has killed 1,467 Palestinian children during the same period. Who is the bad guy?

    Israel is China's #2 weapons supplier now, and was the #1 arms dealer to apartheid South Africa during the global sanctions era.

    September 15, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  5. DARTH VADER

    do they mean jewne or jew LIE?

    September 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • BADGUY

      So...the Jews have switched sides and have joined the Catholics, and Evangelicals in the arms of the Far Right. All due to one comment that Israel should go back to the 1967 boundaries....ONE COMMENT.....NO ACTON....ONE COMMENT. Makes one wonder what their commitment to progressive ideas was when ONE COMMENT flips them over to the dark side. I know this CHANGES the stance of millions of voters toward Israel.

      September 15, 2011 at 1:27 am |
  6. krehator

    Great another bigoted article. Let's just point out a group of people and find some way to make them special, because it gets attention.

    Way to go, CNN.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  7. drewmbah

    Obama has made insulting, unreasonable demands from our staunchest Mideast ally, and has ignored Palestinian atrocities.
    There's also no denying (see the above comments) the anti-Semitism that's rife within the left wing in the US, from both the Ivy League and the PWT/Dixiecrat wings of the Dems.
    I should also add that Cromwell is a terrible example of evangelical "tolerance." He literally butchered thousands of Catholics and Anglicans, and was in no way known for religious tolerance.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • St. Skippy, Patron Saint of Peanut Butter

      Cromwell? You might as well have said the Spanish Inquisition. No one expects that either.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Um the fact that we have ever suported the jews just goes to show how stupid the religous RIGHT is. All thiests are dogs that should not be given the time of day, let the palis r*pe murder and pillage all of isreal, it has no right to sovernty, it was stolen land from jorden that the ally nations gave to them rather then putting them back in the nations that hitler took them from. Everyone who thinks that Isreal has a right to that land, should if not hyporcites, believe that the US should be given back to the native americans. I agree with neather.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • RL

      The Palestinians have killed 125 Israeli children since September 2000.

      Israel has killed 1,467 Palestinian children during the same period.

      Israel is China's #2 weapons supplier now, and was the #1 arms dealer to apartheid South Africa during the global sanctions era.

      September 15, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Robert

      I didn't say Cromwell was a model of tolerance, but he did allow the Jews to return to English civilization. Furthermore, Evangelicals never allowed the Catholic Church (historically, a more dangerous foe to the Jews) to impose their religious conformity on everyone, which is significant.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  8. THE BROWN NOTE

    who cares what israel thinks with those little hats

    September 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Howard

      Brown note ... with the quality of your posts ... you should be calling yourself brown turd.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Robert

      Haha...you're not very smart, are you?

      September 15, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  9. YouReapWhatYouSow

    Libs are ticking off EVERYONE at this point. The tsunami is coming. You dimocraps are OVER!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jesus Was A Libtard ! ! !

      I just love the people whose intellectual abilities are only capable of producing things like "dimocraps" and "libtard." The best part is that they think they know better than everyone else and should be obeyed.

      Hey buddy, don't forget to turn on Limbaugh and Fox tomorrow so that you know what your opinions are!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      liberals think they're intelligent and sophisticated. They are not. They are self-inflated hippies. All of them.

      I'm not a republican. But I really can't stand liberals. It's amazing how many of them are misinformed about EVERYTHING.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Love your name

      The Brown Note: it fits you. It make us think of used toilet paper. I know, that's unfair: soiled toilet paper is far more valuable than your shitty opinions.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Yeah, that Teabagger/CNN debate had a lot of really intelligent, fact-based BS emanating from it. From Bachmann's "vaccines cause mental illness" to Dick Perry's "0 jobs from the stimulus" there was nothing but eighth grade thought from the panel of dummies. Hey, did you know Ron Paul's head of his 2008 presidential campaign died owing $400,000 in medical bills? Paul didn't offer insurance to the people who worked for him. That's freedom, libertarian style.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • SteveCHNC

      Ron Paul's campaign manager's friends and family raised the 400k for his medical bills. He took a risk by not having it and when he got in trouble his friends and family made sure that the bills weren't left to taxpayers (according to the Huffington Post). It was consistent with what Paul said in the debate.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Harvey The Rabbit

      Well that sounds like a viable health care aproach for the country, Steve. Die without paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills because your friends will bip in with the money and pay it. Yeah, that's a good example. RuPaul for president!

      September 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • TheBoosh

      To Brown Note – certainly your Republican/Neocons "have it right" – like their historic opposition to minimum wage, workplace safety; labor laws; pollution laws; Social Security; Medicare, etc., etc ALL of which, of course, you and/or family have never personally benefited from.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • mickey1313

      every single win for the republicans prooves that the US is a stupid arogant ignorant country that deserves to slide into the mud. For 50 years the GOP has been eroding the foundation of this nation, and they run all of the media (contrary to there lies) and have brainwashed americans to believe that if they want equality for all, that they are evil and unamerican.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • jerry

      What a "Mindless, stupid,Ignorant comment you make!!!! Your the problem in this country!! Your nothing but a War-Mongering fool!!! Go back under your rock,man???

      September 15, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  10. Zocotroco

    This win for a Republican candidate in a heavy democratic district is the same as Israel beating all the Arab countries in all the WARS they have had. Second as many journalist have pointed out, people of all political views see that we are going backwards in our ECONOMY. And last the jewish community in our country have seen this President throw Israel, our only real ally in the Middleast under the BUS and they don't like it.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • charles

      That is how an Ally acts? Yeah right.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Thomas

      There has never been an alliance treaty between USA and Israel. Israel just sucks billions of dollars from American pockets every year just to pursue its insane, inhuman and illegal policies. It is Israel that for many years has tried to trow the USA under the bus, no matter what the USA does for it. Israel is isolating itself from the rest of the world, and expects the USA to do the same.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Jews, as usual, despise anyone that does not agree 100% with Israel's policies. President Obama dared to tell Israel to go back to the 1967 borders and start negotiating peace with the Palestinians. PM Netaniahu immediately flew to the USA and TOLD President Obama to mind his business. Since then the AIPAC and other Jewish organizations (which control most of the media) started to campaign against Obama, and told all Jewish businessmen (who control most of the American finance and economy) to do whatever necessary to get rid of Obama as soon as possible. The economic and financial mess we are in these days confirm that. And the fact that Tea Party goer Bob Turner got elected over a traditionally democratic district also confirms that Israel and Jews control the USA. Ariel Sharon some years ago said that Jews control the USA, and the USA know that.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • charles

      Could not agree more. This is the United States of America, not the Support Israel At All Costs.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • WPWW

      but dem der Israylees are the CHOOOOOSSEEENNN people of God! Zionist Christians are going to ruin America.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Peikovian

      When Henry Ford invented mass production for Nazis to corn hole each other, did you guys jump in the line?

      September 15, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Robert

      So are we supposed to angry at the Jews?

      September 15, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  12. Where is happy meal

    Where is Happy Meal people?

    September 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Why would anyone care?

      If the question is "where," she is still in the psychic cesspool of her dissociated mind.

      If the question is "who," she is ColoredMountains now. I get the impression that she actually thinks she is Her style is so distinct that you can eaily spot her. I like playing "Name That Justina," trying to spot her new name in as few posts as possible. I usually get it in one.

      I think her next name should be TacoShortOfACombinationPlate

      September 14, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • ColoredMountains

      Thank you so much for missing me. I'll love America forever. I won't write much since my sister will kill me for not painting enough. I'll miss my free time...

      September 15, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • ColoredMountains

      I found out I can post comments in different sections in CNN now.^^ I won't just stay in belief blog and I won't visit here too often. I'm not familiar with American politics anyway. Farewell, my beloved American atheists. My prayers and love in Jesus go to you. Please realize how stupid you are in the soonest time and repent.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  13. Robert

    One more thing...@ J Mann You are very mistaken my friend, demonizing Evangelicals. Evangelicals have stuck their neck out for Jewish rights time and again in the past 400 years. Haven't you ever heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Yea, he was an Evangelical. He was one of brave few courageous enough to work against Hitler during the Holocaust. Of course, he only lost his life. Don't forget that it was King Edward I that exiled the Jews from England. Do you know who allowed the Jews back in? Yea, that was Cromwell (also an Evangelical). Can you please tell me of one notorious instance when Evangelicals turned on the Jews living in their adopted homeland? Don't worry, though, we're not demanding any 'thank you' or special favors. That wouldn't be what Jesus taught. But you can still pretend that your safety and security in America has nothing to do with Evangelical history, and you can unfortunately keep propagating these falsehoods and slander.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      more religious crap

      all I read was blah blah blah

      September 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Robert

      @ The Brown Note That's not a very intelligent response.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  14. mobetta

    If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you're not a racist, we hope you'll vote for somebody else in 2012 to prove you're not an idiot.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      liberals already proved that they are stupid to the tenth degree of moron martial arts

      September 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  15. Robert

    There's only one sentence in this article that needed to be printed: "Democrats have traditionally enjoyed overwhelming levels of Jewish support." Enough said.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      and they have traditionally enjoyed heavy substance abuse

      this in turn has led us to the obama administration

      September 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  16. Newmoon2

    If your allegiance and concern for another country are the primary drivers for your vote, then move to THAT country! America should be able to support or denounce ANY country consistent with our human rights standards and foreign policy interests.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  17. Bob

    I REALLY don't see Rick Perry carrying Florida. Between his threats to destroy Social Security and the fact that he announced his candidacy at event run by people who quaintly refer to Jews as "Christ Killers", I just don't see him doing well with older, Jewish voters.

    September 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      I don't see you carrying florida either

      September 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • David Goren

      It's hard to say, Bob. You're right about the older, Jewish voters, however. I know some of them. Anything short of the Democratic candidate wearing a swastika-emblazoned tie mean a big advantage to Democrats. My elderyly mother will vote Democrat no matter what, period. However, with so many voters dissilusioned with Obama, it will probably be another close race there. I predict a typical red-blue battle, but with the Republicans winning for same reason Obama won. People don't like what they've got and they want a change.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  18. Blackman in America

    .................this report speaks as if Jews are the only voters in America................please, they have a rightt to leave the Dems if that is what they will do. Honestly what can the Dems do about that, once they have really delt with the repuks DECIET they will come back.

    September 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Kyle

      You obviously have no opinion of intellectual value and have no clue how politics work. It's all MONEY. You really think voting means anything?

      Bwahahaha

      September 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  19. Reality

    Israel- Its formation was approved by the UN in 1948. It should honor the original UN agreement and live within the described borders. Considering the hate generated by passages in the koran and ot, erecting dividing walls between Muslims and Jews was a great idea and the building of said walls should continue. UN forces should control these walls.

    And Jerusalem should be made into an international city under the control and protection of the UN.

    And from another blogger:

    "American Muslims agree to leave the United States in a one-for-one exchange for Jews from Israel. Dismantle Israel. Problem solved!" (actually two problems solved)

    September 14, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"And Jerusalem should be made into an international city under the control and protection of the UN. "

      Ugggh....I gotta .... "barf" ... I have to agree with Reality :( ..

      Just on the original borders and the international control of Jerusalem. Maybe with rotation of interested parties taking their turn guarding the place. Will save more money in the long term than the bombs and tanks.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  20. lillywhite

    "In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in every fact an American, and nothing but an American...

    There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

    –Theodore Roosevelt, 1919

    September 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.