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GOP Touts Jewish Party Switch in N.J.

The end of Jewish-Dem alliance? Not so fast, notes JTA.

Allison Hoffman
November 18, 2009
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The single best predictor of how a person will vote is how their parents voted, according to Poli-Sci 101. Sure, there’s some give at the margins—and sometimes quite a lot of give, which can produce a permanent realignment—but, for the most part, people stick to the allegiances they learned early on. So we’re a little confused about why, at every election, there’s inevitably a story about whether lots and lots of Jewish voters will switch parties. As we reported earlier this month, the vast majority of Jewish voters in New Jersey’s politically conservative Syrian community did vote for the victorious Republican gubernatorial candidate, Chris Christie, despite his involvement in launching a criminal investigation into money-laundering among Syrian rabbis. Now, the Republican Jewish Coalition is touting a poll claiming that only 62 percent of Jewish voters supported the Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine—significant, if true, because it would suggest that a big chunk of the 78 percent of Jewish voters who supported Obama last year might have changed their minds about the president and his party. But as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Eric Fingerhut notes, the poll was (a) commissioned by the Republican National Committee; (b) conducted the night of the election and the next day, after people had found out who won; and (c) only had a sample size of 72 Jews, giving it an error margin of plus or minus 11.5 percent. Which means that there is almost nothing to be read in those tea leaves, except that the Republican Jewish Coalition thinks it’s good business to soften up habitual Jewish Democratic voters by suggesting that other Jews are open to switching sides, however many or few of them actually are.

Allison Hoffman is the executive editor of CNN Politics.

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