Republican Bob Turner has defeated Democrat David Weprin in New York's 9th Congressional district, the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner. In a district composed of parts of Brooklyn and Queens, a Republican victory is a remarkable result that we haven't seen in decades.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, predicted this outcome in their final poll on the race. From their analysis:
If Turner wins on Tuesday it will be largely due to the incredible unpopularity of Barack Obama dragging his party down in the district. Obama won 55% there in 2008 but now has a staggeringly bad 31% approval rating, with 56% of voters disapproving of him. It's a given that Republicans don't like him but more shocking are his 16% approval rating with independents and the fact that he's below 50% even with Democrats at 46% approving and 38% disapproving.
PPP's sample found an electorate that is 36% Jewish, and many of those are Orthodox and/or Russian Jews, both communities that have been trending Republican. (Weprin is Jewish, Turner is not.) The crosstabs that PPP tweeted as the poll was released late Sunday night reveal that President Obama's needlessly confrontational attitude toward Israel played a big role here:
37% in NY-9 say Israel 'very important' to their votes. They support Turner over Weprin 71-22.
22% of Jewish voters in NY-9 approve of Obama's handling of Israel. 68% disapprove
Turner is actually winning the Jewish vote 56-39. Obama's overall approval on Israel is 30/54
37% of voters who say Israel is 'very important' Turner up 71-22. With the other 63% Weprin leads 52-36
The Emergency Committtee for Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition put a lot of effort into making this race a referendum on Obama's policies toward Israel, and they deserve a lot of credit (though not as much credit as Anthony Weiner). It's important not to over-read this; as I said, we're talking about a subset of the Jewish community that has been trending Republican anyway. On the other hand, for every pro-Israel American Jew, there are dozens more pro-Israel American gentiles.
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