Thursday, October 23, 2008

Surprising Numbers from Florida

Quinnipiac University released a poll today for battleground states Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. The poll suggests that McCain is gaining some ground in Florida, holding steady (losing, but within the error margin) in Pennsylvania, but slipping in Ohio. With less than 2 weeks to go, and with these states still in play, it was interesting to see that among Florida Jews, Obama is leading by a wide 77-20 margin over McCain. I expect Obama to win the Jewish vote -- nationally and in Florida -- but not by this much. I'm looking more towards a 65-35 spread, which would underperform Clinton, Gore, and Kerry by a significant amount. Surprisingly, 64-35 is what Dukakis got in 1988 against Bush 41. I don't think Obama will do better than Dukakis.

Update (6:00 pm): A new Gallup poll released today of Jewish voters nationwide seems to confirm the Quinnipiac trendline, doubly confirming that my guess will be wrong. In this survey, taken by producing monthly averages of daily tracking polls, and based on a survey which interviews 500 Jewish voters each month, Obama is showing increased support amongst Jews, from 61% in July to 74% in October. Simultaneously, McCain has lost ground (the Palin effect?) -- from 34% in July to 22% in October. Astoundingly, older Jews show stronger support for Obama than younger Jews. Jews 55 and older are supporting Obama 74-19; the 35 to 54 age group are going for Obama 68-28, and young Jews (18-34) are 67-29 Obama. Such numbers completely fly in the face of the conventional narrative (reinforced by The Great Schlep brouhaha) that older Jews are the most resistant to Obama's candidacy.

If Gallup is right, Obama stands to do as well with Jews as Kerry did in 2004. If that happens, I'll eat my kippa.

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