14 April 2005

Is another mass exodus at hand?

For forty years, Moses led the Children of Israel as they wandered the desert in search of the Promised Land. And for over forty years, Jewish voters have been solid supporters of the Democratic Party. Just as Moses' leadership of his people came to an end, will the dominance of the Democratic Party in the Jewish community also be reaching its limit? A recent study by the Solomon Project on behalf of the National Jewish Democratic Council shows that there was in fact some movement by Jewish voters and that cracks have formed in this once solid support. However, the Democrats are not the Egyptians, so an exodus is immediately unlikely. Still, the Democratic Party has reason for alarm and must do more to reach out to religious voters, regardless of denomination or faith.

Ronald Brownstein from the Los Angeles Times reported that the poll results are largely good news for the Democrats, but show signs of opportunity for the Republican Party. While initial polls by Edison/Mitofsky National Election Pool showed 74% of Jewish voters choosing Senator John Kerry while only 25% chose President George W. Bush, a new study by the Solomon Project shows better results for the Democrats. The new poll shows 77% of Jewish voters choosing Kerry with 22% choosing Bush. This was somewhat surprising, considering that many felt that Bush's rhetoric regarding Israel during the campaign may shift the tide.

Still, Democrats have reason to worry, because new trends did in fact emerge. While Jewish women continued to strongly support the Democratic candidate, President Bush made significant inroads with Jewish men. The most alarming figure was that Bush received greater than a third of the vote from Jewish men under the age of 30. Another trend, which is somewhat predictable, is that those Jewish voters who attend synagogue weekly split evenly between the two candidates. This finding reflects a greater problem for Democrats who continue to lose voters who regularly attend services and/or consider themselves religious.

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