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  • November 2, 2012

    Romney Wins in a Landslide (at Least in Israel): What it Means

    By Abe Katsman, TOI

    On the election map, the State of Israel is not just blue and white; it is solidly red.

    The Presidential election results are in. Well, at least the votes from Americans in Israel. Not one to keep readers in suspense, I’ll reveal the most important numbers up front: Gov. Mitt Romney received 85%–85%!–of the vote; President Obama managed only 14.3%. This, according to exit polling just released by iVoteIsrael, the non-partisan group promoting and facilitating voting by U.S. citizens currently in Israel. Their statistics reveal some fascinating results. More importantly, these results have implications for the outcome of next week’s election. (Again, not to keep you in suspense: those implications favor the Republicans.)

    First, that 85% should be seen in a broader perspective. Israel has become a “red state” through such a solidly Republican vote. In fact, if Israel were in the United States, it would be the “reddest” state in the entire country. Redder, even, than Utah, or Wyoming or Oklahoma. Significantly redder. That should be a worrisome development for the Democrats, who once owned the pro-Israel vote.
    Second, that 14% for Obama is 40% lower than the vote he received from Israel in 2008. That should worry his campaign. Even if his support in the Jewish community in America has eroded by only half that much, he may have trouble clearing the 60% mark. An interesting historical note: for almost a century, every Republican candidate who received 30% or more of the Jewish vote was victorious–and it looks like Romney will win well over 30%.

    Third, the total vote from Israel–80,000 ballots–is huge. That’s about 25% of all ballots cast from all expat communities combined, which have 20 times as many Americans as Israel has. It also represents 50% of eligible voters in Israel, a participation rate fully ten times that of Americans in the rest of the world. That’s an incredible rate considering the cumbersome process of registration and absentee ballot application and mailing faced by each individual Israel-based voter. It’s also more than double the number of ballots ever cast before from Israel.

    That means that the Israel-based voters–who overwhelmingly voted Romney–were unusually highly motivated to vote. Compare that to the 5% participation rate in the rest of the world–voters who lean towards Obama–and quite a contrast emerges between the relative levels of motivation to vote between supporters of each candidate. This appears to be an extreme example something U.S. polls now show: higher motivation to vote corresponds to higher likelihood of voting for Romney. And motivation correlates with turnout. That is a doubly good sign for Republicans.

    Not surprisingly, the primary motivating issues in the Israel-based vote are Israel-related issues, such as candidates’ policies on Israeli defense and security, the American-Israeli relationship,the status of Jerusalem, the peace process, and policies regarding Iran and its nuclear program. 82% of respondents considered such issues most important, and 88% of those voted for Romney. If voters with such concerns so heavily favor Romney among Israel-based Americans, there may be a corresponding higher-than-expected Romney vote among U.S.-based voters concerned with the same issues.

    A fourth interesting takeaway from the data is that even though the Israel-based electorate is pretty evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, huge numbers of Democrats apparently crossed over to vote for Romney. On top of that, it seems that Obama has “reverse coattails”–even in Congressional and Senate races, 68% of Israel-based voters cast ballots for the Republican.

    Even among those who still voted for Congressional Democrats, half cast their Presidential ballots for Romney. That may be a bad omen for Obama’s ability to hold onto pro-Israel Democrats in America. We in Israel already saw developing anecdotal evidence of this Democratic defection, highlighted by the very public endorsement of Romney by the former Chair of Democrats Abroad Israel, and former Obama voters working the Romney phone banks.

    Fifth, there was heavy participation from swing states. 7,500 Israel-based Floridians voted; another 3,500 voted in Ohio; and 3,500 more voted in Pennsylvania. Those numbers themselves could prove significant, but they have additional impact: Americans in Israel have a unique, front-row perspective on how any President’s policies are working out. As a result, their opinions on the respective candidates’ Israel policies have extra credibility. And those Israel-based Americans all have friends and family and communities back home. If the vote from the front-row is so lopsidedly for Romney, that can only mean one thing for the direction it will influence the vote back in America.

    What does it all mean? In the short-run, this is all great news for Romney and the Republicans. But in the longer run, it is healthier for both Israel and America when strong pro-Israel support is solidly bipartisan. Such a one-sided vote as we just had means that something is out of whack. In fact, several high-profile Democrats have complained that Israel support is becoming a partisan, Republican issue.

    This vote, however, highlights what those complaining Democrats are missing. It’s not that the Republicans have somehow driven a wedge between the Democrats and the pro-Israel community; it’s that the Democrats, led by President Obama, have drifted far enough away from their once-solid support of Israel that even life-long Democrats are crossing the aisle.

    Here in Israel, of course, support for a strong American-Israeli relationship is very much a bipartisan issue. That’s why, across the spectrum of Americans in Israel, Republicans and Democrats alike are voting for Mitt Romney for President. 85% of them.

    Abe Katsman is an American attorney and political commentator living in Israel. He serves as Counsel to Republicans Abroad Israel.

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 7:15 am | 15 Comments »

    15 Comments to Romney Wins in a Landslide (at Least in Israel): What it Means

    1. James B - Canada says:

      I am ashamed of Canadian Jews – just as dumb as American Jews when it comes to politics ( if not dumber; they put Trudeau in office 3x!!!!! ).

    2. J.S. says:

      I’ve read lots of political commentary written by Canadians (also by Canadians who were raised in Canada, but are now living in the States). I am thoroughly unimpressed (many simply do not understand America — they seem just so ignorant — or they come from a perspective in which Government is their “big daddy” out to solve all problems, and no matter what the’re sold on Obama. There seems to be some lack of individualism (?) — so I’ve stopped reading Canadian political commentary on the U.S. election, including articles from the National Post — waste of time.)

    3. birdalone says:

      Thank you.

    4. Jas Johnson says:

      I am astounded by the idiocy and head-in-the-sand behavior of American Jews. Israelis are now far more realistic than even expatriate Americans; Obama’s ‘favorable’ rating has plummeted to below 5%, and this after very high figures at the start of Obama’s Presidency. American Jews have put up with endless insults, anti-Israel slurs, even anti-Semitism from Obama and his administration, and still many of them support him.

      There’s an old joke: “If Hitler came to life and ran as a pro-abortion Democrat every American Jew would vote for him.” Observing American Jews’ behavior toward Obama, I realize the joke is close to reality.

    5. Paul Simko says:

      Israel’s Jews have shown that they are not dogmatic idiots ! For the sake of the United States and Israel, I hope that America’s Jews will follow their in Israel living brethren’s lead and vote Republican !!!!

    6. steven l says:

      It means that Israel is a little America!
      The majority of American Jews like the majority of German Jews are/were assimilated. They both have/had their head in the sand.
      What really matters is what the rest of the country think of the Jews at a given time (not of the choosing of the Jews; usually when things are bad or getting worst)). It does not help the Jews to be more catholic than the pope or more German than the German or Russian than Russian.
      Once a Jew, always a Jew. Get use to it and be proud of it. If people want you to pay for it, it does not matter how deep you hide.

    7. David says:

      Wonderful! Every bit counts, and Ted Belman spread the word. He did more than his fair share…many thanks Mr. Belman.B”H’

    8. alan says:

      It appears that many Democrats are ashamed of American Jews. They should take a close look at who they voted for and notice what he did as contrasted to what he said. Obama had been no friend of Israel. Obama has been no friend of the United States. Obama has been a friend of Muslim countries elevating Muslims over Americans and Israelis. He also elevates blacks over whites and under his watch the Middle East has become a powder keg ready to explode further at any moment. The United States is more racially divided than ever and unemployment climbs as Obama panders to the unions.

    9. Wallace Brand says:

      An 85% pro Romney vote by expatriates is a good response to the recent opinions of HaLevy and Dershowitz.

    10. Lou Anderson says:

      I am not holding my breath, but I do hope Jews in America vote for the candidate instead of the party. Obama lied to the Jews when he spoke to them at AIPAC in 2008 and American Jews voted for him. Shame on Obama. Obama has once again spoken at AIPAC in 2012 and lied again. If American Jews vote for him again then shame on the American Jews. Ask any person in America to name the capital of Israel, and except for the ignorant who don’t know what the question even means, all will say Jerusalem, but a few weeks ago, at the daily press conference, when asked to name the capital of Israel, Obamas’s Press Secretary, Jay Carney, could not bring himself to say Jerusalem. He was asked three times by the same reporter, and the best he could do was dance around the question. Ask yourself why. Why is it so difficult for Obama to say publicly what every American knows is the truth? We all know the answer, and I am sure American Jews know it too. So why do they vote for him?

    11. Leon Kushner says:

      Finally some good news from Israel. I’m thrilled that so many Americans living in Israel see the light. My question: Why isn’t closer to 100%? I was disgusted when I read Dershowitz’s pro Obama article in the Jerusalem Post. Especially his obviously factually incorrect glossing over on how great Obama has been to Israel. I guess I just answered my own question. If a prominent Jewish leader, one of the most recognized political commentators in the world today has upside down vision, and is publicized in one of Israel’s most prominent papers, it’s no wonder that some American zionists are led astray – led to believe that Obama is good for the Jews and good for Israel.

    12. zionlover says:

      Does this mean that the Americans in Israel are people who already loved Israel more than the average American before living in Israel or does it mean that Americans who live in Israel understand the situation better because they are in Israel? In other words, did their support come first or afterwards?

    13. steven l says:

      @ zionlover:
      Their support came first and is being confirmed afterwards!

    14. steven l says:

      For the West and the Muslims, the Jews are nothing else than a punching ball. As long as the majority of American Jews are neutral and or against IL and the IL govt does not annex J & S, the enemies of IL will continue the game of not recognizing Jerusalem and perpetuate purposely Jewish insecurity. To divide the Jews is for them an end in itself.

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