Bob Turner’s victory in the early hours of this morning in New York’s Ninth Congressional District is certainly in part a rebuke of President Obama’s overt hostility towards Israel.
But does Turner’s triumph represent a turning point for Jewish voters at large when it comes to President Obama? I’m not so sure.
The other night Dick Morris told Bill O’Reilly that a Turner victory would be as big a shock as Scott Brown winning here in Massachusetts last year. Yet Brown didn’t fair so well in communities with large Jewish populations like Newton and Brookline. Granted while Brown did increase his share of the GOP vote, Martha Coakley beat him by a greater than a two to one margin in Newton (67% to 32.4%) and nearly a three to one margin in Brookline (74.1% to 25.3%). I can’t see Brown replicating those modest numbers against Elizabeth Warren, never mind Setti Warren (who is Newton’s mayor and is also seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.)
As John Tabin has noted, Turner received a lot of support from Orthodox Jews (as well as Russian Jews.) As both Jim Antle and John Guardiano have noted, New York’s recent recognition of same sex marriage also played a role in Turner winning last night. Well, Orthodox Jews tend to be a more conservative lot so it isn’t a surprise they would have an antipathy towards gay marriage than the more secularly inclined, Reform Jews here in the Bay State. Or put another way, don’t confuse Brookline with Brooklyn.