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. Sobeit

    If Jews don't vote that is fine, but as an American I am NOT willing to relocate the White House to Jerusalam.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • mikle

      Very stupid statement , i don't know, why can vote for loser like obama . Just bla-bla-bla and vacations.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Stephen

      I am afraid that the white house is more in Ryad , Saudi Arabia...yes the ones who gave us a good gift 10 years ago.
      The US do not even recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel!!!

      It is our american history not to permit Hamas, Hizbollah, Iran, to wipe out Israel from the map.
      Let us not forget the hundreds of americans killed in israel by the arab terrorist!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  2. Martin

    Ed Koch. Isn't he dead yet? Why doesn't he throw himself under a bus.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  3. ANN

    their so stupid they think bachmann's a jew. ha ha ha they probably voted for Hitler. Traders

    September 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  4. Blah Blah Blah

    Obama doesn't pray with me at my church. Waaaaaahhhh. Obama doesn't read for me, waaaahh. Obama laid me off, didn't give me a raise, wipe may azz, tuck me in at night, waaaaahhhh. Obama I'm going to vote Republican because they said nice things to me, waaaaahhhh. Obama hates Jews, I heard him say it, waaaaaahhhhhh.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  5. John

    I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Stephen

    I am glad that the jews are realizing how dangerous is the politics of Obama. With the middle East , it reminds me of the british prime minister Chamberlain who did evrything possible to appease Hitler.
    We need to protect Israel by radical islam and nuclear Iran. I remember 10 years ago when the Palestinians were cheering in the streets on 9/11!!

    September 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Blah Blah Blah

      Obama is sooooooo dangerous. Yeah OK. Suuurrrreeeeee. look out here comes OBAMAAAAA!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Vigla

      Yeah, Stephen... The DANGEROUS black man will bring us all to ruin. Same old song and dance. You know, white guys caused plenty more damage before he even got in office. So get over yourself.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • william

      explain why the united states should be responsible for Israel.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • David

      There were many that were angry at the unconditional support that the US gives Israel, allowing to brutalize Palestinians with impunity, depriving them of freedom; but It was Israeli spies laughing it up and taking pictures of the towers falling that I recall.. Zionists were the main ones celebrating 9/11, as they looked forward to having a stronger partner in the so-called "war on terror."

      September 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  7. Greglh

    ★★★★ WHY NOT START JOBS IN THE USA??? ★★★★

    Millions if not Billions are spent on POLITICAL campaigns by the various businesses that won't start jobs.
    How much SENSE does that make???

    I have no problem with the government getting their peice. You keep asking the government to do something in the middle of wanting less government. How are they going to pay for it???

    I don't mind regulartors getting a peice. I don't want our future people working in sweat shops and asbestos type environments. HISTORY proves they will if NO ONE WATCHES OVER THEM!!!!

    The real issue with jobs is GREED!!!
    There is plenty of work to be done. Many people qualified to help.
    The greed comes not from the everyday employee, but from the TOP BRASS.
    I mean why spend a million on jobs out of the billions you make when all you have to do is blame it on the government????

    The problem is the top guys and they are now positioning themselves to DICTATE our politicis because we refuse to remove the money they claim they don't have to create jobs but more than willing to spend in politics.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!! The fix is nothing that will happen overnight. If you are looking for that please click your ruby slippers and comeback home to reality. Mitt and Rick are nothing more than the Wizards of the Wizard of Oz.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  8. Riz

    If this trend grows.....white house will be located in Israel.....by 2020.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Edwin

      Riz: every president in recent history, regardless of faith, has been an adamant supporter of Israel and their policies. Why do you think that support will now cause the effect you described, as opposed to during the 1970's or 1980's or 1990's?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • william

      i'm tired of being responsible for Israel's problems. let them work it out.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • MS oF NY

      It already is. WH is only an Annex to Israel.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  9. Kool Aid

    Dear American Jews,

    The Evangleical Rigth in this country does not–I repeat NOT–care about you. They only care about Israel as it pertains to the lunacy of their religion–in particular, to the prophetic teaching of the end times and Israel's connection therewith. They STILL believe that the Jews murdered Jesus. And most of them still believe you are all going to Hell for not accepting Christ as your personal savior.

    The lion's share of the GOP is made up of these people or people who have to pander to them. Thus, an American Jew who votes for a Republican is almost always voting against their own interests.

    Please think about this before you head to the polls. Furthermore, Rick Perry (the likely GOP nominee) is the poster child for what I just described. Jewish votes for him would perplex even the smartest minds.


    Concerened Voter

    September 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Stephen

      It is not a matter of religion, it is a matter of safety of 6 million Jews in Israel. Look at what the Democratic party has done to Israel! I remember Carter, talking to Hamas and describing Israel like an Apartheid State.
      Obama has shown no committment to Israel security in a moment of terrible threats from Hizbollah, hamas, Turkey, Egypt, Siria and the nuclear Iran.
      We need to choose the best friend of Israel, regardless of the political party. The safety of Israel, our best friend in the world, is our safety!!!!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Not enough to overcome the fact that the rapturists will support Israeli policy, no matter what they do.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Israel is like an apartheid state. They only allow enough voting Arabs within their ever-changing official borders to make sure their vote is inconsequential.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • MS oF NY

      What is the Debt that we have towards Israel that we are obliged to repay at the cost of our own peace and security. Like the saying goes it takes two hands striking together to make a sound, Israel's policy of my-way-or-the-highway and that compared to their existance every other being is inconsequential is what created an enemy out of its neighbours. If they gradually tone down this hawkish stance and try to extend goodwill and help to its not so fortunate neighbours, they can easily defang rogue regimes like the one in Iran without bloodshed. Otherwise the cycle of war-peace-war is never ending.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • william

      The bible describes Jesus dying as a result of condemnation by the Jewish community. Either the bible is wrong or it’s right. Its teachings are clearly valid in every other respect. Why would what happened to Jesus be inaccurate? I have nothing against the Jewish people but there is no way I’d support American soldiers being killed to save Israeli citizens. They have their own army.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      Interesintg perspective, but the basic premise of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' is fatally flawed in that, in the long run, these people are not really your friends. No offense to Israel (I have no qualms with the Israelis personally, although I do take exception to your religion with the same vigor I approach all religion), but I have a personal stake in this-we simply cannot tolerate another dowdy fundamentalist sitting in the White House for 8 years.

      Furthermore, last time I checked the scoreboard, the Israelis have been victorious in every war they have been involved with since their creation. They have some of the best weapons on the market today (I do understand they buy much of this from the US) and, as much as they would like to deny it, they have nuclear arms as well. Point: I'm pretty sure Israel can take care of itself. Moreover, as much as I sypathize with Israelis when it comes to the tactics of their enemies, I would be remiss to not point out that it is THEY who are the occupying force-therefore, as far as I am concerned, they are on their own.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  10. no romance

    I am a democrat but do not trust Barack Hussein Obama...his views like his blood are too Koranic...anyone but Obama in 2012

    September 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Carlos

      koranic? no, dont worry all he has done since coming into office was support israel

      September 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      You are a stupid democrat who listens to the Fake News Channel

      September 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Vigla

      Oh, sure... More of the same nonsense. Clearly, you did not vote fro him the first time due to misinformation and outright lies. How lame are you?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • fft

      "koranic" – attention walmart shoppers please dont use the store computers for writing cimments

      September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Blah Blah Blah

      I don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican because you sound like a complete moron. But you have a lot company.
      Wahhh my daddy Obama is mean to me, waaahhh. I can't do anything without Obama holding my hand waaaaahhhh.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • MS oF NY

      Moron. Even the most extreme right wing nut jobs have tried and failed to make that stick to the President. Under which rock were you for so long??????

      September 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  11. And?

    I'm voting for Obama in 2012. The Republicans haven't said or shown me anything in the way of common sense solutions. Furthermore if any of you think tax breaks or just waiting is going to "bring America back" then you're too far gone to reason with anyway. As far as this Jewish thing, welcome to America, we are a nation of immigrants. We ALL come from troubled origins. America should be as neutral as possible. America first or you can leave.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Tim

      I completely agree. This is the United States of America. This is NOT Israel. We should only ever be voting for American interests in an election, not for a foreign country, in this case Israel. Leave this country if you're electing officials based upon foreign interests. We need to stop all military and financial aid to Israel. For real. We also need to be able to make foreign policy decisions regardlessof a pro-Israel lobby within our own nation. Ridiculous.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Fred Scott

      You're going to vote for this idiot president of ours yet again??
      5T spent and look at the state of this country? And yet you'll vote for him??

      September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • And?

      Yes Fred, I WILL vote for him again. Do you really think I'm that twisted in my thoughts to buy into this garbage about Obama is the blame for everything wrong? Or that he even has the power to right everything that's wrong? Grow up. What ON EARTH has the Republicans said that makes them a better choice? What? They'll be faced with the same options as he has.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  12. Observer

    Why not we just merge with Israel. All of our presidential candidates pledge allegiance and support to Israel during elections.

    The power of money and lobbying at its best

    September 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Stephen

      If the israeli lobby had been very strong, peace in Palestine would have taken place in 48 and the palestinian refugee problem would have been solved at that time. The truth is that the Arab lobby has always dominated our policy weakening ,in the name of oil ,all full support of ours toward the defence of the Jews of israel.
      Th safety of Israel must be the core of our foreign policy . let us not forget that we are at war with the middle east ` radical islam whch struck us 10 years ago and strikes israel almost every week

      September 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chimo

      Spoken like a true moron eh Observer! Just like all the other jerks, you think that because Israel is important to the Jews, that we automatically think of Israel before America, and that is total b.s. Most American jews are very patriotic and absolutely love this country and serve this country. We care about Israel because it is the only jewish state in the world, just like other americans love their countries of origin. Your smear tactics of trying to insinuate that jews are not loyal Americans is about as anti semitic as you can get.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  13. Greglh

    So I'm African-American. If I complain about issues towards my people here it is considered "race card" now.

    Maybe me and other African-Americans should take this example and complain about the policy towards our people in Africa.
    So the Republicans are going to now spend Billions of dollars of Taxpayer money on Israel.
    That is where the CUTS will go my friends. They will fudge it as security spending or military or what they fooled Americans with before "Our Security" at the expense of the middle and lower class tax money and various programs like school and college education assistance.

    The greed of this country is what WILL bring it down. Not some terrorist or Axis enemy. Simple Greed.
    So sad.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Conrad Shull

      The problem with aid to Africa is that almost all of it goes into the bank accounts of profoundly corrupt leaders.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      You didn't read his post carefully Conrad. And my best guess is he is right.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  14. Conrad Shull

    The Left has disliked (even hated ) Israel ever since they had the sense to curtail the kibbutz system.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Are we talking chess here?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Oh socialism and zionism, yuck.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  15. COL

    ★★★★ WHY START JOBS IN THE USA??? ★★★★

    What would make a fool start a COMPANY in the USA?

    1) Instantly they are a criminal that needs monitoring
    2) UNIONs want their piece
    3) Government wants their piece.
    4) Regulations want their slice.

    Why start a business in the USA..

    Answer that LIBS!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Cut with the spam moron.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • And?

      Yet millionaires and billionaires are still popping up in America. Shut up.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Martin

      Demand, demand, demand. That's what is lacking in the U.S. economy. Companies will not hire until demand is back. Why would they if no one is going to purchase increased production? Economists are overwhelmingly calling for increased government spending NOW to get Americans back to work.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Vigla

      Libs, libs, libs... I'd rather be a lib than a CON! Why start a business when you can make tons of money on wall street rather than take on the risk of opening a business? 15% is the tax rate for capital gains... A business pays more in taxes. Why start one when you can make your money playing the stock market and mare 85 cents on the dollar on profits?

      Return the cap gains tax to 29% AT LEAST! THEN, we might see some people pull out of the stock market and create jobs!

      September 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  16. Jill-IN

    Maybe they were voting their total dislike for Weiner's behavior and sending a message now. Maybe the candidates are equal in ability and status and no gain picking either one sadly for two years except the opportunity to punish the party for Weiner's behavior.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Martin

      Fortunately it's not two years. It's only until January 2013. The seat will be up for grabs like every seat in the House in the November 2012 election.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Vigla

      This fool will lose the seat in the next election. He should enjoy it while it lasts...

      September 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  17. fft

    oh we stopped bankrolling israel? oh wait, we didnt.. in fact we didnt change anything. we are just as blindly supportive of israel as we were 4 years ago. stop whining jewish voters. last i checked we were our own nation. dont like it? get the &@&$ back to israel and fund yourself.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Carlos

      Unfortunately for them they are not from israel to get back to it.. Sadly for you they are like dual agents with an american citizenship but israeli loyalty and they run your country.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  18. SCAtheist

    They just bought a Jewish chaplain memorial to Soouth Carolina. 15 Jewish chaplains and assistants died in ALL OUR WARS. Not too many Christian chaplains died either. I guess they know how to hide.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  19. Gumby

    Maybe it's just another stolen election so don't fret about why it happened Never forget FLA 200. The GOP has no scruples on how they get in office. If Israel thinks GOP control of America is a good thing, think again. GOP wants to usher in Armageddon. See how much Israel would like Crazy Eyes Bachmann or Evil Eyes Perry.

    September 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      They would love their unqualified support of Israel.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  20. Tiger73

    As an American of the Jewish faith, one who has served three years as a U.S. Army officer, I would have voted for the Republican candidate. Also, my wife and I attend a Reform Congregation, not an Orthodox Congregation. The U.S. unemployment rate is simply too high, the deficit is over 100% of the Gross Domestic Product, and the stimulus packages that President Obama had passed and now proposes more of the same simply do not work. Private enterprise create jobs, government does not create jobs. We need to return to the Bill Clinton years where we had a budget surplus. President Clinton would have never, ever tried to "throw Israel under the bus."

    September 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Carlos

      As an "american", why is israel your concern?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • DianeD

      I agree with your post here, but it was Clinton who signed the NAFTA agreement which, in my point of view, backfired on the US! We do not benefit from NAFTA as much (if at all) as the other countries who signed on to it do.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Nobody threw Israel under the bus. And what is the name of our Secretary of State?

      September 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Carlos

      SCAtheist, that would be netenyahu

      September 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Martin

      Yours was a government job when you were in the military. Goverment does create jobs. In fact, government spending is much more focused on the U.S. economy and creating jobs than any money that filters into the economy through tax cuts or other incentives.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
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About this blog

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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.