Campaign for Swing-State Jewish Vote Seeks Inroads Against Obama

The Republican Jewish Coalition, whose board of directors includes casino executive Sheldon Adelson, has spent more than $6 million to try to peel away Jewish voters from President Barack Obama by raising questions about his commitment to Israel and his record on the economy.

This has to do with the fact that Jews, who have overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates in presidential elections, are disproportionately concentrated in swing states such as Florida and Ohio, where the RJC is running ads.

“If all Jews lived in Massachusetts, I don’t think they would have invested that kind of money.” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Outside experts question how successful the effort will be.

“Convincing long-time Democratic Jews to switch in appreciable numbers would be very hard, regardless of how many millions are spent in the effort,” said Herb Weisberg, a political science professor at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Adelson and his wife personally have contributed more than $50 million to committees backing the election of Republican candidates.

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