In response to Ben Smith’s article reporting on continuing qualms about Barack Obama among Jewish Democrats who wish he was more of a yes-man to Bibi Netanyahu, I’m inclined to say that if Jewish Dems abandon Obama en masse for Michele Bachmann, I’ll eat my hat.
But I thought a bit better of it. Barack Obama got 53 percent of the vote in 2008. Bush got 51 percent in 2004. Gote got 48 percent in 2000. Clinton got 49 percent in 1996 and 43 percent in 1992. Even Ronald Reagan only got 51 percent in 1980. Which is just to say that it’s extremely likely that Obama will do worse in 2012 than he did in 2008. And really, who out there isn’t at least a bit displeased with the outputs of the Obama administration relative to our fondest hopes and dreams from the 2008 campaign? So the question when you’re looking at Jewish support for Obama during his re-election campaign isn’t “do fewer Jews like him than did in 2008;” it’s is there a disproportionate trend toward Jewish abandonment of Obama. I haven’t seen any clear evidence of such a trend, but this is the thing to look at. And the same goes for other demographic sub-groups. I read sometimes that Obama has lost Hispanic support, which I don’t doubt. But has he lost more Hispanic support than white support? More than Jewish support? If you preside over years of mass unemployment and need to make a variety of tough calls about issues and priorities, you’re bound to lose support.