Facing a stagnant economy and Republican attacks on his Middle East policy, President Obama appears to be losing some support among Jewish voters in the critical swing state of Florida, according to Jewish political activists and demographers.
Most estimates range from 3 percent to low double digits, but any slippage for Obama will be magnified by the traditionally outsized turnout of this core Democratic constituency. Jews constitute only 3 percent of the state’s population but cast their ballots in such large numbers that they can account for 7 or 8 percent of the total vote.
“A small shift in the Jewish vote can make a difference,” said Ira Sheskin, a University of Miami professor who is director of the Jewish Demography Project there. In recent polls, Obama led Mitt Romney in Florida overall by an average of only 1.4 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.
The economy remains the top concern of Jewish voters, according to surveys, but Obama’s opposition to Israeli settlements, his contentious relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his reluctance to rattle the saber against Iran are worrying some Jewish supporters. A new wild card is the effect in Florida that Romney’s vice presidential choice, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, will have. He has been a leading proponent of privatizing Medicare. FULL STORY @ BOSTON.COM