Republicans pilloried President Obama throughout the campaign for being a purportedly weak ally to Israel, but Election Day research suggests that the strategy flopped with Jewish voters.
The exit poll, conducted by Democratic firm GBA Strategies on behalf of the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street, shows that Obama once again won by a large margin among Jewish voters, and that the contentious debate over Iran’s nuclear program was a virtual non-factor.
According to the survey, 70 percent of Jewish voters nationwide supported Obama on Tuesday — down just 4 points from his 2008 share. Romney picked up only 30 percent support. The poll also found a sharp aversion to the Republican nominee among Jewish voters: 64 percent have an unfavorable view of Romney.
As was the case with other constituencies, the economy ranked far-and-away as the top issue for Jews. Only 10 percent cited Israel as the most important issue, and a paltry 2 percent identified Iran as the top concern.
Jim Gerstein, a pollster for GBA Strategies, said the results signal that Obama has not lost credibility with with the reliably Democratic constituency — and that GOP saber-rattling on Israel’s national security, policy areas that are trumped by other issues, failed to move the needle for Romney.
“The only problem Obama has with Jews is that there aren’t more of them,” Gerstein told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. “A candidate must be seen as supportive enough of Israel and pass that credibility threshold, and then [Jewish voters] quickly move on to other issues.”