The Bubbe & Zayde effect: Jewish vote key in swing state elections

As older Jews in the U.S. have moved to warmer climes, their impact in swing states such as Florida, Arizona and Nevada may be decisive in the mid-term elections. 

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

With mid-term elections coming on Tuesday in the United States, Jewish voters are ready to pull the levers.

In swing states, the vote from Jewish constituents is one both Democrats and Republicans vie for, knowing it can be the tie-breaker in one of the tightest mid-terms in American history.

The Jewish Electorate Institute says that 74 percent of Jews in the country will vote Democratic blue on Tuesday, with 26 percent opting to go Republican red. That will be key in Florida, Arizona and Nevada and may change the complexion of the House of Representatives, especially as Jews have a high voting rate.

Why is the Jewish vote so key in these states? It’s quite simple: Older Jews have moved to these warmer areas of America after they retire, adopting the motto, “You don’t have to shovel sunshine.” Although retirees, they frequently become active in community politics.

There are about 630,000 Jewish Floridians according to the Tampa Bay Times, and they make up about four-to-six percent of the total vote. Although a small demographic, their vote is highly prized by politicians as elections are expected to go down to the wire.

In the Florida governor’s race, GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis might have taken the advantage over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum thanks to the endorsement of the Jewish Press, the largest Jewish weekly in the U.S. One of the reasons the paper gave is that Gillum supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Arizona has 106,000 Jews, about two percent of all voters in the state. That might be enough to swing the Senate election. RealClearPolitics has the two candidates separated by just one percent, with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the lead. Sinema and Republican Rep. Martha McSally hope to make the jump from the House to the Senate.

In Nevada, incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller is looking to stave off Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. As of Sunday, RealClearPolitics has Heller up by 1.4 percentage points over Rosen.

In the Silver State, the Jewish population is one to two percent. If they go to the polls in significant numbers, it’s expected to work to the Democratic challenger’s advantage.

Rosen served as president of Nevada’s biggest synagogue. She’s expected to win the pro-Israel vote. Rosen claims she would have voted against President Barack Obama’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal.