One third of the entire Jewish population in the United States lives here in New York. Past presidential elections have shown that the Jewish community in the big apple predominantly votes for democrats but recent polls suggest that the Jewish Republican vote is on the rise. In 2008, Barack Obama won nearly 80% of the Jewish votes in New York. But his popularity is fading, and fading quickly. A poll conducted by the Sienna College of New York in June revealed that 51% of Jewish voters supported the president, while 43% backed the Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
David Pollock mapped out the Jewish vote of the 2008 elections in the borough of Brooklyn. The results were astonishing. Out of the 1.5 million Jews that live in the greater New York area, 40% now identify as Orthodox. Ten years ago, only 33 percent did. It is the fastest growing Jewish community in the city, and one of the main reasons why the Republican vote is growing. Rabbi Yeruchim Silber is an active member of this community, providing social assistance and other services to the people of this impoverished neighborhood. He predicts more than 70% of Boro Park Jews will vote Republican in November.
But not everyone in the Orthodox community shares the same views. Israel and family-values are important in this community. But just like the rest of American voters, the economy plays a huge role. Just two miles away from Boro Park is the more affluent neighborhood of Park Slope: a democratic stronghold, home to many liberal Jews. For now, democrats still enjoy a large margin over republicans in the New York Jewish Community. But this is likely to change in a few years, as 74 percent of Jewish children in the city today are Orthodox.
With a growing orthodox community in New York, Republicans are likely to increase their popularity in the future. But many voters are still undecided about the presidential election and both candidates will have to compete over issues that are dear to the Jewish population: security, social values, the economy and the relationship with Israel.
Bryan Carter, JN1, New York.