TAMARAC, Florida (Reuters) - Selma and Kenneth Furst were among the hundreds of thousands of Florida's Jewish voters who helped put Barack Obama in the White House four years ago.
This time out, the Fursts are still solidly behind the president, but they aren't so sure about some of their Jewish neighbors and friends.
"It's a hard decision, for people to make up their minds," said Selma Furst, 91, who lives in a condo community in Tamarac, a city of 60,000 near Fort Lauderdale, with her husband, Kenneth, 94. "My neighbors talk about it a lot, and we think about it all the time."
Polls suggest Obama has lost some ground since the 2008 election among Jewish voters in Florida, a key battleground state. That could have a major impact in what is likely to be a tight race, analysts say. While Jews make up only about 3.4 percent of the population in Florida, they have historically turned out in disproportionately high numbers.
"From the polling I've seen, the president's support among Jewish voters is at historic lows, compared to other Democrats for president, and it's something we're seeing anecdotal evidence of on the ground," said Alberto Martinez, an adviser to the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
"No one expects Romney to win the Jewish vote. But any level of attrition for the president is going to endanger his reelection in a state like Florida," he said, recalling the 2000 election, in which George W. Bush won the state by 537 votes.
It's not clear how much support the president can afford to lose in Florida. Andre Fladell, a longtime Democratic activist from Delray Beach, said he doesn't believe a 10 percent to 14 percent drop in the polls among Jewish voters would make a difference, but "a 24 (percent) to 26 percent drop would," he said.
The key, he said, will be voting trends among the almost 500,000 Jewish voters in the Democratic stronghold of South Florida. continue...