Thursday, November 04, 2004

Call me Latoya Jackson

I recently wrote a mid-term paper predicting that Bush would get about 25% of the Jewish vote.
National Exit polls showed Bush gaining no ground in the Jewish vote from 2000. But by now, these exit polls are hardly taken seriously. CNN calculates that Bush got 24% of the vote, Kerry 76%. That's about a 5-6% gain for Bush from 2004.

Before anybody goes crazy, saying stuff like "Bush panders to the Jews with Israel" and such, I think it's important to remember that Bush did not set any Jewish voting records. Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan received votes in the middle and upper 30s. Also, as The Forward points out the only segment of the Jewish population that had more than one out of four Jews voting for Bush was the Orthodox population whose main interest in voting for Bush isn't because of his foriegn policy but because of general conservative domestic policies that allow religious schools and charities to recieve goverment funding. I would add that Soviet-American Jews probably had a majority voting for Bush, but most of that community is located in New York, where it would hardly make a difference.

So I think there will be a growing shift in Jewish support for the Republican party but that's only because Orthodox families have frighteningly large families(Orthodox Jews have up to three times as many children as non-Orthodox Jews). The paradox is that although Orthodox Jews view themselves as being outside the mainstream, they are actually extremely involved in politics, in as much as they can further what they see as best for their own communities.

1 comment:

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Orthodox Jews don't just have up to three times as many kids as non-Orthodox Jews; I am an only child, and there have to be Orthodox families with more than 3 kids...I know, I know, you mean on average...Good work, though, with your prediction!