About That Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — Jewish and Youth Vote

One of the key tenets to the argument that polls surveying Democrat turnout higher than the 2008 levels is every poll shows some combination of either reduced enthusiasm or reduced support for Obama versus his 2008 performance on election day. This poll from the American Jewish Committee (hat-tip commenter perdogg) shows Obama with a substantial lead among Jewish voters 65 to 24.  Great for the President, right?  Unfortunately, that 41-point margin is substantially less than the 57-point margin (78 to 21) Obama had in 2008.

This type of drop among Obama’s 2008 coalition is not limited to Jewish voters.  I haven’t focused as much on national polls, but other groups like the youth vote are also leaving the President’s side.  In the CBS/New York Times national poll from Sep 14, Obama was leading among 18-29 year-olds 53 to 45, only an 8-point margin. His margin in 2008 was 34-point (66 to 32). As we have point out numerous times, in 2008 Obama did not meaningfully increase the youth turnout.  He did, however, meaningfully persuade them to vote for him. Now their enthusiasm is dampened and their preferences have changed.

Dynamics like the ones above will make it nearly impossible for Obama to repeat, let alone exceed, his 2008 turnout advantage in the 2012 election.  These are among the many reasons we find the polls over-sampling Democrats by wide margins to be unrealistic surveys and not accurate reflections of voter preferences today.

A new American Jewish Committee poll found 65 percent of Jews nationwide planning to vote for US President Barack Obama versus 24 percent for Mitt Romney, with another 10 percent undecided. The poll, conducted Sept. 6-17 among 1,040 Jewish voters nationwide, found Obama doing better than Romney among Jews of all religious backgrounds with the exception of Orthodox Jews, who favored the Republican nominee. Taking into account the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, the poll’s overall finding regarding the state of the Jewish vote is similar to other recent polling from Gallup and elsewhere.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 65
Mitt Romney 24
Undecided 10


  1. margaret
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    How about this and the youth vote that registered in 2008 and heavily went Obama?!

    From a Fox news article Sept 23 2012: “Nearly half of the young voters who in 2008 registered and cast their first presidential ballot may have not updated their voter registration, according to a new survey, a situation that could most impact President Obama considering that voting bloc helped him to victory four years ago.

    The finding by the non-partisan group HeadCount found that seven out of 10 young voters changed residence in the past four years, and 43 percent of those potential voters have yet to update their voter registration.

    The so-called “youth vote” is the estimated 15.5 million U.S. citizens who are 18 to 24 years old, according to the Census Bureau. Roughly 49 percent of them voted in 2008, compared with 47 percent in 2004 and an historical rate of about 40 percent.

    Obama won roughly 66 percent of the youth vote in 2008 in his successful race against Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.”

  2. Doc Kilmer
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well I guess the undecided could still push Obama up to 75%, but I suppose they don’t want to admit yet that they will vote against Obama. @DocKilmer

  3. WillBest
    Posted September 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That is why the polls confuse me. The only group that I have seen Obama poll better with than 2008 are single women and Hispanics. While he is down with youth, Catholics, Jews, working class men, and nearly every other category. It doesn’t make any sense unless single women, Hispanics, and blacks make up a disproportionate share of the electorate, and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of them being riled up at anywhere near the level they were in 2008

  4. David Weed
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It’s worth noting that the AJC released a similar poll in 2008, with nearly identical numbers (albeit a LARGER percentage of support for McCain). You’re basing your assumption of diminished support for Obama on this one poll. Yet this same polling organization underestimated Obama’s eventual Jewish votes by 21% while overestimating McCain’s support by 9%. In short, the AJC, in a poll released in September of 2008, missed the election result by 30% regarding the Jewish vote.

    I would think that the Jewish community is a fairly stable voting block. I don’t suppose that they sit out many elections. Certainly the GOP’s efforts to characterize President Obama as less of a friend to Israel might have some effect on Jewish voting. Except that President Obama polls better than Governor Romney regarding Foreign Policy. And Senator McCain had higher polling numbers than Obama regarding handling foreign affairs.

    What has the GOP done to really sway Jewish voters away from Democrats?

    Here’s the exit polling data:

5 Trackbacks

  1. […] […]

  2. […] we pointed out how support among both the Jewish community and youth vote are down substantially from their 2008 levels.  Now we get a look at the African-American […]

  3. […] the weekend Chuck Todd pointed out what regular readers of this blog have known all along: President Obama’s 2008 coalition is both less supportive and less […]

  4. […] Enthusiasm for Obama is down among Jewish voters […]

  5. […] Enthusiasm for Obama is down among Jewish voters […]

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