National Jewish Democratic Council PRESS RELEASE

November 3, 2004

Bush Fails to Attract Jewish Vote

GOP "Could Not Improve on Their Poor Showing in 2000;"

Jewish Vote for Kerry Far Exceeds Recent Averages

Washington, DC: The much-vaunted Jewish vote in 2004 remained overwhelmingly Democratic, defying recent GOP claims and dramatically exceeding the average Jewish Democratic vote in recent years.

The Washington Post this morning, quoting figures from the National Election Pool, reports that American Jews voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush by a 78-22 margin -- a margin with no statistically significant difference from George W. Bush's historically small Jewish vote in 2000.  CNN reports that American Jews favored John Kerry over George W. Bush by a 76-24 margin.

In the three states with the largest Jewish populations -- New York, California, and Florida -- American Jews supported Democrats by even wider margins.  CNN reports that in Florida, Jews voted for Kerry by an 80-20 margin; in New York, the margin was 80-18; and in California, the margin was 79-19.

In the eight presidential elections since exit polling commenced in 1972, Republicans have taken 27.4 percent of the Jewish vote on average; in the 1970's-1980's, Republicans received on average 34.6 percent of the Jewish vote -- demonstrating that the American Jewish vote for Republicans in 2004 is dramatically lower than the GOP share of the Jewish vote in recent years.

"One positive note for Democrats this morning is the continued overwhelming support we received from the American Jewish community," said Ira N. Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

"Over the last three years, Republicans have used such terms as 'realignment' and 'tectonic plate shift.'  Earlier this year, Bush's own campaign chair, Marc Racicot, said that George W. Bush would receive 30-35 percent of the Jewish vote.  Yet last night John Kerry received essentially the same percentage of the Jewish vote that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman received in 2000.  So much for a realignment -- so much for a tectonic plate shift.

"The GOP used every scare tactic, every bit of fear-mongering that they could throw at John Kerry in the Jewish community.  But they failed miserably as American Jews stayed committed to their more than 80-year attachment to the Democratic Party.  The bottom line is that George W. Bush underperformed among Jews, when viewed against the average 27.4 percent Republican share of the Jewish vote since exit polling commenced in 1972," Forman said.

"What's amazing about these numbers is that despite an unprecedented Jewish outreach effort, despite all of the spin the GOP used to generate literally hundreds and hundreds of articles on the supposed 'Jewish realignment,' they could not improve on their poor showing in 2000," Forman added.