This Jewish news is therefore old news. Fifty-four percent of Jews currently approve of the president's job performance; 40 percent disapprove. What about other core Democratic blocs? Forty-seven percent of Hispanics approve of Obama. Half of voters under age 30 hold Obama in a positive light. Obama has lost support at roughly the same pace among myriad blocs that constitute the Democratic base, with the exception of blacks, since his first weeks in office.
A recent special election spurred the opposite storyline. On Tuesday, a Republican won New York's Ninth Congressional District for the first time in decades. It spans Queens and Brooklyn. A third to perhaps 40 percent of the district's electorate was Jewish. Yet the district's Jews skew heavily towards Orthodox and Russian Jews. This is the sliver of the Jewish vote that leans conservative. American moderates and conservatives have moved rightward in the Obama years -- and the same is likely true of moderate and conservative Jews.
Don't mistake the outliers for the tribe. Even a majority of religiously conservative Jews voted for Democratic House candidates in the 2010 election. Overall, in that historically awful Democratic year, two-thirds of Jews still backed Democrats in the House elections, according to polling by Jim Gerstein.
In recent decades, only blacks have proven a more dependable bloc of the Democratic base. Yet we pay attention to the Jewish vote, above all, because Jews contribute an outsized share of financial support to political campaigns. Indeed, the GOP has long sought this fundraising white whale.
Jews have voted overwhelmingly Democratic since before FDR was president. Obama won nearly eight in 10. Two-thirds of Jews voted Democratic even in the GOP landslide years of 1972 and 1984. Ronald Reagan proved that a Republican could win segments of the Jewish vote. But that was also true with the Democratic base generally -- hence the Reagan Democrats. Reagan's exception reiterates the rule.
Jews tend to vote like other core Democratic blocs. American Jews are about twice as likely to be liberals as the electorate overall. A majority of Jews identified as Democratic in 2008. That year, the media again obsessed over Obama's supposed Jewish problem. Yet Obama's rise in support among Jews during the campaign loosely tracked his rise in support among other blue blocs.
In lectures, Democratic strategist James Carville sometimes asks who are the group of Americans who do not vote in their economic interest? Students invariably say some version of Joe Six-Pack. Carville answers, Jews. Faces pensively nod.
Buddhists are the only religious group who have a larger share of liberals than Jews, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew has found that Jews supported abortion rights and believed "homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society" more than any other religious group.