Why So Few Jews Vote for Republicans

ByABC News
February 13, 2007, 5:55 PM

Feb. 13, 2007 — -- It is no secret that Jews in America have historically not favored the Republican Party. Several polls estimated that only 25 percent of Jews voted for Bush in 2004. Although disputed for of its small sample size, the National Jewish Democratic Council's 2006 poll showed only 12 percent of Jews voted for the GOP. The Jewish Community Relations Council estimated that Bush got just 19 percent of the Jewish vote in 2000.

Commentators in the Jewish community and party pollsters debate endlessly why Jews are not more favorably disposed toward the GOP. Jews are wealthier and more educated than the average American, generally oppose affirmative action and favor strong support of Israel. On these counts the GOP should, many say, have greater appeal.

Is it because Jews have an historical affinity for FDR and the party of immigrants and the "little guy"? Is it because of Jews' religious devotion to "tikkun olam" -- repair of the world -- which they translate to support for governmental social services? Maybe some of each but perhaps something else is at work

The dustup over the location of Mitt Romney's presidential announcement -- the Henry Ford Museum -- may be revealing. For Jews over the age of 40 or so, the name Ford means more than Mustangs and American innovation. Ford, of course, was a notorious anti-Semite, publisher of the International Jew (an update of the Protocols of Zion), and an apologist for Hitler who received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Hitler's Nazi government in July 1938. In many Jewish homes, owning a Ford was verboten.

He was no cultural icon.

Fast forward to today. As soon as Romney announced that he would make his presidential announcement at the Ford Museum, the accusations and statements started to fly. The National Jewish Democratic Council came out first, chastising Romney for making a pilgrimage to the site of this famous anti-Semite. Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks fired back in a press release today, saying, "I'm saddened and disappointed by the attack today by the NJDC against Gov. Romney."

Jennifer Rubin is a freelance writer living in northern Virginia. She was previously a labor lawyer in Los Angeles.