Newseek: Palin May Cost McCain a Win in Florida

Florida's Jewish voters are not happy with Sarah Palin, and many who thought they might vote for McCain have now decided otherwise.

As one Jewish voter, Jamie Erenreich, puts it:

She finds so much about Palin objectionable that she almost doesn't know where to begin. There's the abortion issue, for one. Palin "wouldn't want anyone to have an abortion even for rape or incest," says Jamie. "Who is she to judge by telling me how to live my life and overturning the things women have worked so hard for?"

Equally disconcerting is Palin's seeming shallowness on some of the most pressing matters facing the country. "She doesn't know what she is talking about and makes it up as she goes along," says Jamie. "The fact that she had to be coached for two weeks [to prepare for the vice presidential debate] tells me she doesn't know anything. She just talks in circles."

Political scientists and polling data explain. [More...]

Many Florida Jews who had previously been open to McCain appear to share the couple's aversion to Palin, according to political scientists, polling data and anecdotal reporting. "She stands for all the wrong things in the eyes of the Jewish community," says Kenneth Wald, a professor at the University of Florida.

Among the examples he cites: Palin seems to disdain intellectualism, she's a vociferous opponent of gun control and she attended a fundamentalist church that hosted Jews for Jesus, which seeks to convert Jews to Christianity.

As to how the Jewish vote could cost McCain the state:

Such rejection of Palin could prove decisive on November 4. The Sunshine State has emerged once again as a key battleground, and "in a close election, Florida Jews could tip the scales," says State Rep. Adam Hasner, co-chair of McCain's Jewish steering committee there. Though Jews account for only 5 percent of Florida voters, they turn out reliably on election day.

Palin's deficit was apparent before the Katie Couric interview:

An American Jewish Committee poll taken in the weeks after Palin was picked found that 54 percent of respondents disapproved of her selection, compared to 37 percent who approved. And that was before the onslaught of withering criticism of her interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

...The AJC poll showed only 57 percent of Jews nationwide supporting Obama, with 30 percent backing McCain and 13 percent undecided. "There's no question that Obama came into this election with probably less going for him than most Democratic nominees," says Wald. But the Palin pick "probably blunted any gains the Republicans had made."

Obama has been working hard for the Jewish vote. He's been making gains -- but much more so since Palin was added to the ticket. Here's another voter, Hannah Handler Hostyk, who explains how Palin on the ticket has convinced her to vote Democratic -- for the first time:

....Palin was the deciding factor. "I was shocked," she says. "I watched some of the speeches at the [Republican] convention and some of the debates. Each time, I was more and more appalled." Hostyk finds a number of Palin's traits disturbing: her hard-line position on abortion, her extreme religiosity and her apparent ignorance on economic and foreign-policy matters.

"Basically, on every issue, Sarah Palin is not coming from where I'm coming from," says Hostyk. In the aftermath of the Palin pick, "Obama and Biden became the perfect ticket." If enough Florida Jews share such sentiments, they may help propel that ticket all the way to the White House.

Other things helping Obama with the Jewish vote in Florida: His choice of Biden for VP, his use of surrogates like Reps. Robert Wexler and Debbie Wasserman Schultz who say Obama shares their values, and even The Great Schlep campaign.

< Newsweek Poll: Obama Has Double-Digit Lead | TrooperGate Report: Palin Abused the Power of Her Office >
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    To put a finer point on it... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 08:00:01 PM EST
    Didn't Katie Couric ask Palin whether she would want abortion to be illegal even in the case of a 15 year old who became pregnant as a consequence of being raped by her father?

    Didn't Palin answer that she would "counsel life".

    I know we're not supposed to be 'playing the abortion fear card'; but Palin's position is so outside the mainstream that it becomes a different issue altogether. It personifies a kind of sociopathic inhumanity toward prospective victims who have been dehumanized triple fold: victimized as minors, victimized by rape, and victimized by incest.

    If Sarah Palin her way they would be violated four fold, by being forced to carry their pregnancies to term. The horror of such an unwanted pregnancy wouldn't end after nine months. Instead, it would be the beginning of an interminable struggle to come to grips with the living consequence of the three prior traumas.

    What "counsel" would Sarah Palin be prepared to offer in this aftermath?

    counseling life (none / 0) (#4)
    by txpublicdefender on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 08:04:25 PM EST
    I don't care if she wants to "counsel life," so much as the fact that she wants to make it the only choice.

    well, (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 08:13:43 PM EST
    it was probably the 15 year-old's fault. she probably dressed seductively, and batted her eyelashes at daddy. what's the poor guy supposed to do?

    i have a suggestion, for a catchy new slogan for gov. palin: "behind that empty stare, lies a vacant space!"

    Palin's views vacant? We should be so lucky (none / 0) (#6)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 08:43:50 PM EST
    Her anti-choice counsel is so inhumane that it ought to be criminal.

    Under the circumstances that Katie Couric outlined (a minor, pregnant via incestual rape): could it be construed as "child abuse" if a parent with-held the medical choice of abortion from a minor who expressly wished to choose that option for herself?

    I guess I'm posing it as a legal question.

    Imo, Sarah Palin is bumbling around in a minefield here. Somebody needs to push her, very hard, on the issue and see how high it blows.


    Stereotypes are often noxious. . . (none / 0) (#1)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 07:39:24 PM EST
    but it's generally true that Jews respect erudition and disdain ignorance, and Palin cannot fail to be a negative for the McCain campaign in that demographic.

    Unfortunately, evangelical voters make up a much larger slice of Florida's electorate than Jews and Palin's particular form of ignorance is not likely to hurt the ticket in that group.

    they may make up (none / 0) (#7)
    by Amiss on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 10:30:34 PM EST
    a larger part of the electorate, but they are not as faithful at the polls as the Jewish voters are, I dont believe. I find, as a Florida resident more and more people, not just Jews are turning to Obama, myself included, although I was never a McCain fan, I sat on the fence a very long time. Sarah Palin has definitely made a negative impact as far as John McCain is concerned to all of my friends and family here in the Sunshine State. I never thought the state would go Democratic, but I believe it will happeen this year.

    playing Devil's advocate.. (none / 0) (#8)
    by 18anapple2 on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 11:38:09 PM EST
    Sarah Palin's, as a pro-lifer,believes that a fetus is an individual life with all the rights conferred by the constitution of life ,liberty and the pursuit of happiness .In that context,  presuming  that an "individual" has the right to life,the fact that the fetus is NOT responsible for the circumstances of its birth determines the fact that he/she should not be aborted . In  the pro life context  this "no exception for rape/ incest" is actually ideologically consistent and logical . I would present an argument  that those pro lifers who make an exception for rape and incest are really the ones who are inconsistent . SO while I am pro choice and disagree with her anti choice stance..i find her completely consistent in ref to her no rape or incest exception. I also must admire the fact that she walked the talk by carrying her downn's baby to term.

    Do you admire consistently honest people? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 02:27:33 AM EST
    Someone who speaks the unvarnished truth under any and all circumstances?

    Someone who would say: that haircut? Well, it ages you 10 years. Your new boyfriend? Well, I saw him hit on another woman when you were in the bathroom. The boss? Tell him to his face that he is less qualified than his assistant; even if he wasn't asking for an opinion. Remember, a lie of omission is still a lie - and we're going for consistent honesty.

    What if this uber honest person was seeking the power to have everybody live that way? How would a life of such rigid, consistent honesty work out for any one of us?

    Maybe better than Palin's hypothetical 15 year old girl who she would, presumably, force to bear the child of a father who raped her, don't you think?  

    Consistency is not a virtue onto itself. It depends entirely on the merits of what one is being consistent about. Even a virtue, like honesty, can be devastating. Let alone the vices: i.e. one can be a thoroughly consistent liar. That would make said person a pathological liar.

    *Palin's position is pathologically anti-choice. Imo, anybody who definitively admires that has got their own touch of pathology.


    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin (none / 0) (#14)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 03:25:18 AM EST
    of little minds."  Attributed to Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes.....Great quote.

    no need to play (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 10, 2008 at 11:52:15 PM EST
    devil's advocate, no one said she wasn't consistent, just morally reprehensible. the two aren't mutually exclusive.

    gov. palin is entitled to closely held, personal beliefs. what she isn't entitled to is foisting them on everyone else, via legislative fiat.

    i guess i'm not as easily as impressed as you, by gov. palin's decision to carry her downes syndrome child to term. this is a woman, with 4 children already, in her 40's, who either decided to have another child, just couldn't keep her legs crossed, or has absolutely no clue what causes babies to begin with.

    children born to women in their 40's or older, are much more highly susceptible to genetic defects, with downes syndrome being one of the leading ones. this is a pretty well known fact. that she chose to have another child, in spite of this, tells me she's an egomaniac, hardly someone to admire.


    devil's advocate (none / 0) (#24)
    by 18anapple2 on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 09:35:55 PM EST
    i beg to differ..in a democracy ,as per law, Palin is definitely entitled to try..as to the morality of "anti choice" .. the definition of "life" scietifically speaking is pretty well defined..and life in the philosophical or moral sense is a constantly evolving definition reflective of a society at a point in time so..?
    as to "just couldn't keep her legs crossed" as you have so elegantly put it..what are you still living in the dark ages..haven't you heard life begins at 40 ..oh wait..50 is actually the new 40..Madonna still rocks! ..and to her being an ego maniac because she CHOSE to have her down's child..how about being the better person and practising what you preach and respecting her choice..it is HER choice isn't it?

    The Bay of Senility (none / 0) (#13)
    by Roschelle on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 02:30:15 AM EST
    The McCain Wander....

    He looked like (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 03:26:17 AM EST
    anold guy looking for the end of the buffet line....

    the silence is deafening (none / 0) (#16)
    by Iris on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 03:43:00 AM EST
    I'm waiting for Cream City and others to say that Sarah Palin should be more selective in her associations, since that was the criticism levied at Barack Obama over Ayers, Wright, etc.  That's the consistency I'm looking for here.  But I don't hear too much of that.  I guess it doesn't matter when it's something that "real Americans" might be able to get on board with?
    Palin apparently sat through a speech by a leader of the group in which he said terrorist attacks on Israel were punishment for Israelis' failure to accept Jesus as the Messiah.
    Why didn't she walk out?  Not trying to pick on you, CC, but the silence over this (not just from you, but from the right) is very telling.  Or maybe you just didn't read this post yet, we'll see.

    the silence is defeaning (none / 0) (#17)
    by nikitah on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 10:58:12 AM EST

    I was reading my morning paper and came across an article and I quote:

     "Where's the uproar on Palin links to anti-U.S Group?

    Founder of Alaska seccssionist party preached armed insurrection against federal government.

    "My government is my worst enemy.  I'm going to fight them with any means at hand".  This was former revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers back in his old Weather Underground days, right?  Imagine what Sarah Palin is going to do with this incendiary quote as she tears into Barack Obama.  Only, one problem, the quote is from Joe Vogler, the raging anti american who founded the Alaska Independent Party.

    Inconveniently for Palin, that's the same seccessionist party her husband, Todd, belonged to for seven years and to which she sent a shout-out as Alaska governor earlier this year.  "Keep up the good work" Palin told AIP members "And God bless you".  AIP chair Lynette Clark told me recently that Sarah Palin is her kind of gal.  "She's Alaskan to the bone... she sounds like Joe Vogler.  

    So who are these America-haters the Palins are pallin' around with?  "Governor was videotaped lauding party's good work" and I quote.

    Just FYI.


    Ayers (none / 0) (#20)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:20:26 PM EST
    I can see why folks might consider it strange that Obama's political coming out party was conducted by Ayres. We on the left might raise a bit of a stink if McCain had been launched by some member of the KKK, for example.

    Obama simply says something to the effect of "I hardly know the guy", and leaves it at that.

    I don't know much about Ayers personally.
    I do know that the Vietnam war raged on without end.
    The congress, democrats and republicans, would do nothing about ending it.
    By the time there were 30,000 young Americans killed and countless numbers of Vietnamese slaughtered, some citizens became radicalized in the US. They felt there was no recourse but some kind of violent action. I do not believe they wanted to kill any innocent people, but they wanted to blow up buildings, destroy property, stall traffic and the like. Something to end the business as usual mindset of the American landscape. They wanted to bring the war to the homeland.

    I do not condone violence, but I do not condemn out of hand those citizens that resorted to extra-legal means to try to bring about an end to the war.

    Maybe Obama might have felt that way too at that time.
    But he can't acknowledge it in today's political climate.
    So, he hardly knows the guy.


    bs (none / 0) (#21)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:57:19 PM EST
    Utter bs.

    Obama didnt just say, "hes a guy in my neighborhood". That's just a line taken out of a larger answer where he goes into more detail. He's answered it many times.

    He's been denouncing ayers actions and explaining his associations pretty plainly.


    That's a little worse... (none / 0) (#23)
    by lentinel on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 06:19:33 PM EST
    I read the "guy in the neighborhood quote", and heard Obama say to O'Reilly something like, "I know thousands of people"....

    But I didn't know that Obama had actually denounced Ayres.


    In first few days after the Palin (none / 0) (#18)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 12:44:12 PM EST
    pick was announced as it became more and more apparent that she is a fundamentalist and even possibly a Pentacostal person, I wondered if McCain could hold onto the Jewish voters that had moved to him.  I really had a feeling that Palin would ultimately hurt him in Florida and was relieved that he was not allowed to choose Lieberman.

    Obama broke 50% in Florida today... (none / 0) (#19)
    by EddieInCA on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 02:24:22 PM EST
    well (none / 0) (#22)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:58:01 PM EST
    Don't worry, a troll will be along shortly to explain how this result is really bad for Obama.

    You just did "froth at the mouth"... (none / 0) (#26)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 04:00:52 AM EST
    You spared Palin and let fly at me.

    Evidently my pro-choice thoughts are more "torturous" to you than Palin's preferred scenario of a 15 year old girl giving birth to the baby of a father who raped her.

    I won't be bothering you again my dear; and I'll not return your vitriol with a retaliatory attack.

    Bless your heart though.