Daily Israel Report

As Jewish Support for Obama Dwindles, Campaign Looks to Rabbis

Obama’s re-election campaign announced the launch of Rabbis for Obama, aimed at rallying Jewish support for president in upcoming elections.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 8/22/2012, 10:20 AM

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama
Israel news photo: Flash 90

President Obama’s re-election campaign announced yesterday the launch of Rabbis for Obama, an initiative aimed at rallying Jewish support for the president in the upcoming elections.

The group of over 600 rabbis from across the country seeks “to engage and mobilize grassroots supporters,” as its website indicates. The members of the group “represent themselves and do not reflect the views of any affiliated organizations.”

Most of the rabbis listed are from the Reform and Conservative denominations of Judaism, and only a handful are Orthodox.

"This list of rabbis represents a broad group of respected Jewish leader from all parts of the country,” said Ira Forman, Jewish outreach director for the campaign.

“These rabbis mirror the diversity of American Jewry. Their ringing endorsement of President Obama speaks volumes about the President’s deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel and his dedication to a policy agenda that represents the values of the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community," Forman said.

Facing a stagnant economy and Republican attacks on his unfavorable and hostile stance toward Israel, Obama continues losing Jewish support in critical swing states, namely Florida.

According to the Boston Globe, Jewish political activists and demographers speculate that the president could lose anywhere from 3 to low-double-digits percentage points in the upcoming election. While this number may not seem significant, the Jews constitute approximately 4 percent of the state’s population yet typically account for between 5 and 6 percent of voters in Florida.

A Gallup poll released last month showed 68 percent support for Obama among Jewish voters nationwide, a sharp drop from his 78 percent showing against Senator John McCain four years ago.

The Mitt Romney campaign released a television ad earlier this month highlighting the contrast between the two candidates records on Israel.

“As president, Barack Obama has never visited Israel and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as its capital,” the ad states. “Mitt Romney will be a different kind of president — a strong leader who stands by our allies.”