The latest numbers show that Obama’s national support among Jews is down to 64 percent. That puts Obama in line with stalwart vote-getters like Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. More significantly a Siena College poll shows that Jewish support for Obama in New York City has fallen to 51 percent.
Those numbers might seem strange until you read the latest study on the Jewish population in the city which finds that 40 percent of the city’s Jews are Orthodox—up from a third, ten years ago.
74 percent of all Jewish children in the city are Orthodox, a baby boom that will completely transform the city’s Jewish population. And that means the transformation of the Jewish vote. Within another decade, New York City will have an Orthodox majority; within a generation that majority will be so decisive as to define its political orientation. The end of the New York Jewish liberal is here.
As the New York Times disdainfully puts it, “Members of these Orthodox groups also have been known to be far more likely to adopt more conservative positions on matters like abortion, same-sex marriage and the Israeli approach to the Palestinians.”
The Siena College survey gives us a preview of what the new American Jewish vote will look like by studying the changing Jewish political attitudes of New York City today.
62 percent of New York City Jews believe that America is headed in the wrong direction. 34 percent rate Obama’s job performance as poor, tying for the number that rate him as good, while only 7 percent rate him as excellent.
46 percent would prefer to vote for someone other than Obama. 42 percent have a favorable view of Mitt Romney. 43 percent are planning to vote for Mitt Romney. 48 percent think that Romney would be better at addressing the deficit. 45 percent think that Romney would be better at improving the economy (versus 43 percent for Barack Obama).
New York City Jews are suddenly polling as more conservative than Protestants and only moderately more liberal than Catholics. There is no doubt that Obama’s poor performance has played its part, but the most significant element is simple demographics.
These numbers may seem strange to some, but they are why Congressman Bob Turner won the battle for Anthony Weiner’s Congressional seat and why Republican Russian-Jewish candidate Storobin defeated his Democratic challenger for a state senate seat. Democrats have responded by using gerrymandered districts to destroy as much of the Orthodox vote as possible, with the district juggling efforts of Judge Roanne Mann, a slimy Clinton appointee. But the temporary disenfranchisement of voters is not going to win them over. It is only going to further alienate them.
Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York City are routinely divided into three or five districts, set aside for minority politicians who will reliably vote the Democratic Party line. When no amount of redistricting will do, then they are piled into a Super-Orthodox district. If any other group were subjected to a similar pattern of targeted disenfranchisement, it would be grounds for a Voting Rights action by the Justice Department. But these bigoted tactics can only slow down the inevitable transformation of New York City’s political landscape. They can’t stop it.
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