Palin and the (over-educated) Jews

Update: for a response from a Jewish Palin backer, check out this op-ed, just posted on the Jewish Week home page.

It’s no secret Jewish Democrats are fervently hoping the Republicans nominate former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to take on a battered, besieged president Barack Obama in 2012 – Palin being the reason, according to some political scientists, that Sen. John McCain fared so badly among Jewish voters in 2008.

A new Marist poll suggests their hopes aren’t exactly unfounded.

According to the survey, Palin does best among less educated, less affluent voters; with more education and more money, her support drops off precipitously.

Palin is the first choice among possible GOP contenders of 18 percent of Republicans who haven’t graduated from college, putting her at the top of the heap. But among those GOPers with college degrees, she garners only 7 percent, well behind former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Get the connection here? Jewish voters are significantly more educated than the population at large and more affluent. Party insiders I talk to say Jewish Republicans are edging toward Romney; Huckabee, the Baptist preacher, could be positioned to be a bridge between the Christian conservative faction in the party and more moderate forces, including Jewish Republicans.

Not coincidentally, these are the likely 2012 contenders who do best with better-educated Republicans.

The same poll is full of bad news for Obama; 48 percent of voters nationwide say they “definitely” plan to vote against him, with 36 percent planning on supporting him and 16 percent undecided.

And half of the independents surveyed say they will definitely not support his reelection bid. That’s pretty bad news for a president whose party just lost big-time in congressional midterms.

The survey doesn’t say anything about Jewish voters, but there’s a widespread perception in political circles President Obama is not on track to repeat his 78 percent performance with the Tribe in 2012 – unless the GOP nominates someone who will be a big turnoff.

Early signs suggest a Palin nomination could be the best way for Obama to hold on to a Jewish vote that otherwise would probably drift a bit toward the GOP.

Speaking of Palin, she’s getting slammed for saying “we gotta stand with our North Korean allies.”

I don’t buy the claim this shows she’s stupid.

No, Palin is not the most informed candidate on the national scene, but you’d be hard pressed to find ANY big-league politician who gets interviewed every day who hasn’t made equally embarrassing gaffes.

Debating whether or not she’s qualified to be president is legitimate; using her North Korea slip as proof she isn’t is just silly.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.