The latest IBD/TIPP 2012 Presidential Election Daily Tracking Poll shows Mitt Romney leading President Obama among likely Jewish voters by 4 points, with 44% of the vote versus 40% for Obama and 16% undecided. A lead for a Republican candidate among Jews would be a first in modern history.
The report on the poll includes a disclaimer that is specific to the Jewish demographic saying, “small sample size. Interpret with caution.”
The unprecedented and unlikely numbers have set social media networks ablaze with chatter. “Does not compute. I must be drunk,” wrote one Israeli journalist.
“The highest number I have seen was 40% for Reagan” Ken Kuson, former Chief Operating Officer of Rudolph Giuliai’s 2008 presidential campaign and Political Consultant at Jamestown Associates told The Algemeiner. “But,” he said, “I cant envision a scenario in which Romney gets 44 percent. I also cant imagine a scenario where Romney only gets 24%. I think he’s going to do a lot better than that.”
“It is a small sample size,” Kurson says, referencing the report’s disclaimer, ”the sample size for the big things that they are testing is fine, however 2 percent of Americans are Jewish, let’s say a maximum of 3 percent of respondents” he explained, “If there are 812 respondents you are talking about 24 Jews, so it’s not surprising that 11 of them would say they like Romney.”
Yesterday the IBD/TIPP poll showed President Obama leading Mitt Romney by 47% to 25% with 28% undecided. However, yesterday’s poll was conducted between October 4th and 9th and today’s poll was conducted between October 5th and October 10th, perhaps allowing more time for the results of a widely considered negative debate performance by President Obama on October 3rd to settle in.
As The Algemeiner noted yesterday, if at all close to reality, the poll number indicates a significant decline in Jewish support from the 78% of Jewish voters that backed the President in 2008, and is also a significant departure from a recent American Jewish Committee (AJC) poll released Sept. 27 that showed Obama with 65% of the Jewish vote.
IBD Editor Wes Mann did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.
UPDATE: Responding to The Algemeiner’s request for comment, Terry Jones, Associate Editor at IBD, the official responsible for the poll on the editorial side of the newspaper explained the significance of the poll’s Jewish figures in detail.
“I don’t take the figures with the asterisk as gospel,” he said, referring to the “small sample size” Jewish numbers, “largely because many of them are very small samples and they can be distorted by just a few respondents.”
Referring to today’s especially noteworthy figures Jones said, “this day looks to be an outlier. I rather doubt that right now Jewish voters are supporting Romney in a majority, I just don’t think that’s reasonable.”
“The problem with a sample size that small, is that it has an enormous margin of error, maybe a third of whatever the percentage is,” he said.
Jones explained how the numbers can have real significance however, saying that it is “more important to see how the numbers progress over the long run.” Asked how long, he responded that “it is a matter of judgement and interpretation,” and that the three days that the poll has been running for, is probably not long enough to make a definitive statement. “I would want a week of data and see how it stacks up,” he concluded.
“If you have a number of these results over time and you start stacking them up and the actual number of people continues to grow, and you reach the 100 or 200 range then the numbers reach a point where you can average them and get an idea of what the real number should be.”
“In the last three days it has very definitely shifted in Romney’s favor there is no question about that,” he added, “whether it is a permanent state of affairs or a statistical fluke I am not prepared to say.”
Jones stressed however that whilst flawed, there is something to be gleaned from the Jewish figures presented in the first three days of polling, which were 55% Obama 19% Romney on day 1, 47% Obama 25% Romney on day 2 and 44% Romney 40% Obama on day 3.
“These numbers suggest a far lower number of support for Obama than a lot of other polls are showing, so I think something is happening with those numbers…it really does signal an erosion of support for President Obama among Jewish voters” said Jones, “I am certain that there has been some pickup by Romney of Jewish voters largely because Obama is seen as having problems with Israel…I think it underscores a feeling among Jewish voters that we have a president here that is no longer interested in them as a group, and interested in things that they are interested in…He has presided over a general view of Israel not being a priority in the middle east…There seems to have been a huge shift following the debate.”
Jones offered his personal opinion of where the numbers would end up, saying, “My own hunch is that President Obama won’t get anywhere close to what he got in terms of support from Jewish voters…My guess is that when the day comes and the Jewish vote is tallied it will be about 60% for Obama and about half that for Romney.”
“An %18 percentage point swing in any group is huge,” he concluded referring to the 78% figure that Obama tallied in 2008.