While Ohio and Florida— as swing states— generally get the attention and money of presidential candidates seeking to obtain the Jewish vote, in New York City—where the largest Jewish population outside of Israel is currently situated— comparatively little attention seems to be paid to the voting tendencies of the city’s Jewish residents.
But a recent survey has changed things this year.
The latest Siena Research monthly poll of registered New York voters found that President Obama’s support among Jewish voters in the state has dropped 22 percentage points in only one month, since Siena’s May poll found Jewish support for Obama to be around 62 percent, compared to the 32 percent endorsing Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.
The new poll, conducted by Siena College, found that President Obama has the support of 51 percent of Jewish voters, while 43 percent support Mitt Romney. Five percent are undecided. That leaves Obama with a small 8 percentage point lead among Jewish voters, compared with the 30 point advantage he held earlier.
While Obama carried 78 percent of New York’s Jewish vote in 2008 according to New York Times exit polls, all recent polls consistently show the President’s support among Jewish voters around 60 percent.
Nonetheless, the increase in support for the Republican candidate can also be attributed to the fact that 40 percent of Jews in NYC identify themselves as Orthodox, according to the latest UJA Federation of NY survey.
“The Power of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Vote” was a headline recently published on one of the largest forum’s in Israel, Beharedi Chareidim—effectively capturing the clout New York’s ultra-Orthodox now carry in the political sphere. The headline described the latest development in Brooklyn, where the Republican Party has taken a strong lead among Orthodox voters, and has managed to reach out and attract voters from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, as well as modern Orthodox and secular Jewish voters, a once Democratic stronghold voting bloc.
To wit, Hasidic political operative Pinny Ringel was recently hired as newly seated Republican State Senator David Storobin’s community liaison. The hiring decision was confirmed by Republican operative Michael Fragin, who himself just joined Storobin’s re-election campaign as a top adviser.
“Two young Hasidic operatives were appointed this week to key positions in the offices of Republican senior politicians,” explained one individual in Beharedi Charedim’s forum, “which in both cases, hold a special and close relationship with the community’s dynastic leaders, and key influence within the Jewish media in the United States.”