Revisiting the 2008 Election: Reflections on the Jewish Vote


Publication Date: May 2009

Publisher: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Steven F. Windmueller

Research Area: Culture and religion; Politics

Keywords: Jewish organizations; Israel advocacy; Political Behavior; Voting Patterns

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Despite a strong effort to portray the 2008 presidential election as a watershed moment in redefining the Jewish vote, the author reports that American Jews remain overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic. Still, he notes, the 2008 election evoked a significant and at times heated debate within the Jewish community over which presidential candidate would best serve Jewish interests. A number of specific personalities and issues seemed to define the campaign for Jewish voters, the author contends, including Senator Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright; the nomination of Governor Sarah Palin as Republican vice-presidential candidate; the political "wars" among Jewish groups; the role of political elites in seeking to shape Jewish political opinion; and an array of "myths and messages" that were conveyed within the community about the candidates.