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mccainlieberman.jpgWill this be the year a Republican presidential candidate peels of serious Jewish support from Democrats? The Wall Street Journal makes a convincing case:

Many Republicans think so — particularly with Barack Obama likely heading the Democratic ticket. That calculation has fueled an intense back-and-forth in recent days between the two parties over Sen. Obama’s views on Israel. While both Sen. Obama and Republican John McCain have strong pro-Israel records, Sen. McCain is seizing on other issues, such as Sen. Obama’s willingness to meet with Iran’s president, to press his case with Jewish voters.
Republicans say Sen. McCain may be uniquely suited as their party’s nominee to draw Jewish support. He has a reputation as a moderate on some domestic issues and backing from Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, a prominent American-Jewish politician and former Democratic vice-presidential candidate. Obama backers say their candidate’s positions on social issues are more in tune with Jewish voters’ views.
Jewish votes could make a difference in a close election. Battleground states with relatively large Jewish populations include Florida, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
In past presidential elections, Jewish voters have gone overwhelmingly Democratic, according to exit polls, in part because they tend to be socially liberal. Ronald Reagan won 39% of the Jewish vote in 1980, the highest ever for a Republican. President Bush received 19% of the Jewish vote in 2000 and 24% in 2004.
A Gallup poll released last week showed Jewish voters favoring Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain by 61% to 32%.
In the Democratic primaries, Sen. Obama’s record with Jewish voters has been mixed. Sen. Clinton carried the Jewish vote by margins of 20 points or more in six states, including her home state of New York. Sen. Obama, however, bested her among Jews in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Make no mistake, however. McCain’s campaign to win over Jews will be an uphill climb. For all of Obama’s potential challenges in the Jewish community, American Jews are some of the most dependably Democratic voters around:
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