RJC Running Negative Poll On Obama's Jewish Issues

By | Sep 17, 2008

Have you gotten a call from the Republican Jewish Coalition recently? If you live in a contested state like Florida, Michigan, or Ohio, you just might have. You might have thought it was just another pollster, and were ready to hang up…

These kinds of polling phone calls are commonplace in battleground states during an election year. But what makes the RJC’s recent phone initiative distinctive is the controversial line of questioning, which has Barack Obama supporters up in arms.

ABC News, Politico, and Ha’aretz reported on the calls, which implied or said that Obama had given money to the Palestine Liberation Operation, that Hamas supported Obama and that Obama’s Middle East advisers are pro-Palestinian, among other things.

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic blogged about the surprising experience of his call from the RJC. It was a question about Jimmy Carter that tipped him off.

But soon enough I understood why they were asking about Carter. After going over some more issues and confirming the fact that I was likely to vote for Obama, the caller made a series of rather pointed inquiries. Would it affect my vote, he said, if I knew that

Obama has had a decade long relationship with pro-Palestinian leaders in Chicago

the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, expressed support for Obama and his hope for Obama’s victory

the church Barack Obama has attended is known for its anti-Israel and anti-American remarks

Jimmy Carter’s anti-Israel national security advisor is one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisors

Barack Obama was the member of a board (sic) that funded a pro-Palestinian chartiable organization

Barack Obama called for holding a summit of Muslim nations excluding Israel if elected president

According to Politico’s Ben Smith, RJC executive director Matt Brooks said the poll sought to determine “why Barack Obama continues to have a problem among Jewish voters.”

But our own recent poll here at Moment suggests that it is the Republican Jewish Coalition that is having trouble mustering support from Jews.

What do you think about the RJC poll?

—Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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One thought on “RJC Running Negative Poll On Obama's Jewish Issues

  1. Larry Kessner says:

    I think you’re getting your knickers in a twist about business-as-usual, for both parties. Push-polling, as the practice is known, is employed with equal abandon by both Ds and Rs. A push-poll is not a poll at all; it’s just a technique for conveying information about your opponent. The real issue should be whether that information is true or not. In the RJC push-poll given as your example, all of the statements made about Obama are, in fact, true.

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