Another sign that while the Palin nomination is energizing all sorts of voters, it’s backfiring among Jews: Ed Koch, the former Mayor of New York City, who endorsed and campaigned for George W. Bush in 2004, has now endorsed Obama.
The reason, he told Politico.com: “The designation of Palin to be vice president. She’s scary.”
Koch elaborated in his full endorsement statement that he feels both McCain and Obama are equally committed to defending Israel and fighting terrorism, so he’s looking to other issues, such as helping improve health care… and which ticket has the better vice president:
If the vice president were ever called on to lead the country, there is no question in my mind that the experience and demonstrated judgment of Joe Biden is superior to that of Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a plucky, exciting candidate, but when her record is examined, she fails miserably with respect to her views on the domestic issues that are so important to the people of the U.S., and to me. Frankly, it would scare me if she were to succeed John McCain in the presidency.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Week Web site quoted Fred Zeidman, co-chair of Jewish outreach for the McCain campaign, as saying the Palin pick had worried some potential Jewish McCain supporters. “There has been a lot of consternation all day,” admitted Zeidman, when asked about the impact of Palin’s selection on Jewish voters.
Does any of this matter politically? Of the seven states that have more than 2% Jewish population (according to the Pew Religion Forum), five of them are safe Democratic states.
There are two swing states with meaningful Jewish populations: Florida (3%) and Pennsylvania (2%). While polls have showed Obama running strong in Pennsylvania, they’d also indicated Florida was leaning McCain or tied. Obama may lose several states out west over the Palin pick, but he may also get a real shot at Florida.
As a matter of perspective: if the Palin pick sent all of the Western swing states over to McCain that would be a total of 20 electoral votes. Florida has 27 electoral votes.