Obama addresses AIPAC
Obama addresses AIPACScreenshot

United States President Barack Obama enjoyed the support of an estimated 80% of U.S. Jews in the 2008 elections. However, recent polls indicate he will be receiving far less Jewish support in 2012.

Polls taken before the GOP upset in New York’s 9th District showed that Obama’s treatment of Israel was a crucial issue for many voters in the heavily Jewish area – and only 22% were satisfied with the way he had been relating to Israel.

Their dissatisfaction is thought to have been a crucial factor in the victory of Republican candidate Bob Turner, who became the first member of his party to win a seat in the traditionally Democratic district in 80 years.

Another poll showed Obama losing ground even among his strongest supporters, those who had donated to his 2008 campaign. Of those Jews who invested in an Obama victory three years ago, just 64% plan to donate to his re-election campaign, according to a recent McLaughlin & Associates survey.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Obama campaign is stepping up its efforts to win back Jewish support. The campaign has hired a Jewish outreach director, and has sent senior Jewish officials like former White House aide David Axelrod to meet with Jewish donors.

Writer Dan Senor expressed skepticism over the chances that the new campaign push would succeed. Obama’s advisors believe the president has a “messaging problem,” he said. However, in truth, “he doesn’t have a ‘messaging’ problem. He has a record of bad policies and anti-Israel rhetoric,” opined Senor, who listed several of the many occasions on which Obama’s treatment of Israel was seen as hostile.

Obama’s loss of popularity among those who support Israel has not been accompanied by gains in Arab support. Instead, Pew Research Center surveys show steadily declining support for the U.S. in almost all Arab or Muslim countries, and the Palestinian Authority has openly snubbed Obama in recent weeks, continuing with plans to ask the UN to recognize it as a state despite U.S. disapproval.