Update: Sabato on Obama’s Jewish vote

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

A recent Political Insider item on University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato’s new book, “The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House,” produced a flurry of email.

Why, readers asked, does Sabato put the Jewish vote for Obama at 83 percent while earlier newspaper accounts had it at 78 percent?

Either number qualifies as overwhelming, but you can understand why Jewish Republicans are sensitive about these things and why Jewish Democrats are hopeful.

I put the question to Sabato before posting the initial item, and here’s his emailed response:

“The final adjusted exit poll results for the category ‘white Jewish’ list 83 percent for Barack Obama. Since they are only 2-3 percent of the population, the margin of error is substantial. Other surveys may well have measured the Obama support at 78 percent. That is only a 5 percent differential, and the margins of error here are easily greater than that. The reasonable conclusion is that Obama received ‘more than three-quarters’ of the Jewish vote. The precise percentage will always be somewhat elusive, as it is for all small subcategories of voters."

Statistics and polls: You gotta love ‘em.

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.