If Ohio is any indicator, the multi-million-dollar campaign by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Sheldon Adelson and the GOP to convince the Buckeye state's Jews to vote for Mitt Romney for president and Josh Mandel for Senate is headed for failure. Big Time.
Their message that Barack Obama, Sen. Sherrod Brown and the Democrats can't be trusted on Israel or other issues important to the Jewish community is a flop.
The final pre-election poll published Sunday by the Columbus Dispatch, one of the most conservative newspapers in the critical battleground state, had to be a shock. Only 17 percent of Jews surveyed said they planned to vote for Romney and just 14 percent said they would vote for Mandel.
This is especially surprising since Mandel is Jewish and has been particularly aggressive in making sure everyone knows that as he courted Jewish voters and contributors, not only in Ohio but nationwide. The 35-year-old state treasurer has emphasized his commitment to Israel, his involvement with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the fact he was married in Jerusalem and that his grandfather was a Holocaust survivor.
It came as no surprise that the Dispatch endorsed Romney for president; it has been many years since the paper has endorsed a Democrat for the top job, if ever. I worked part time on the Dispatch copy desk when I was in grad school in 1963 and personally saw the publisher order editors to make sure the paper's support for Barry Goldwater be reflected in the news coverage as well as on the editorial pages.
The big shock for Dispatch readers last week was its endorsement of liberal Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown for reelection over Mandel, a Tea Party favorite.
Dispatch senior editor Joe Hallett wrote Sunday:
"Ohio’s 10 largest newspapers, including two with staunchly Republican editorial viewpoints, have endorsed the re-election of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. Many of the endorsement editorials have criticized Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee and state treasurer for 21 months, for running a dishonest and negative campaign and for demonstrating that he is not ready to represent Ohio in the Senate."
I was in Columbus the past several days visiting friends and relatives, Republicans and Democrats, and they told me the last Democratic Senate candidate anyone could recall the Dispatch endorsing was John Glenn in 1974, and that was only for his first term; subsequently they backed his Republican opponents.
Overall, the Dispatch poll shows Obama leading Romney 50-48 among all Ohio voters and Brown well ahead of Mandel 51-45.