Jewish World Review August 23, 2002 / 15 Elul, 5762

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the bigoted buffoon who has misrepresented Georgia's 4th Congressional District for five terms, will not be a member of the next Congress, thanks in part to Republican crossover votes in Georgia's Democratic primary Aug. 20.

The margin of victory for former state judge Denise Majette was sufficiently large - 58 percent to 42 percent - that the challenger might have triumphed without the help of Republicans in the majority black suburban Atlanta district. And Majette is a conventionally liberal Democrat who will cast few votes of which Republicans will approve. Still, the GOP can count it as a victory of sorts, and it may presage more to come.

Public Opinion Strategies recently concluded its annual survey for Black America's Political Action Committee (BAMPAC). It showed a remarkable increase in black support for President Bush and Congressional Republicans from a year ago March, when the last BAMPAC poll was taken. Then, only 19 percent of blacks approved of the job President Bush was doing. Now, 41 percent do. This is significantly lower than the president's job approval rating among all Americans (65-70 percent), but is higher than the current 37 percent approval given by all Democrats.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters indicated support among blacks - who gave Al Gore nearly 92 percent of their votes in 2000 - for Democrats is declining. The percentage of blacks who say the Democratic Party has served them well fell from 61 percent last year to 49 percent this year. Forty percent of those polled say Democrats take them for granted.

A poll is not an election. But the attitude shift reflected in the BAMPAC survey could partly explain why GOP Rep. Robert Ehrlich is now in a statistical tie with the much better funded Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the race for governor of heavily Democratic Maryland. Ehrlich's running mate is black.

It isn't only among blacks that Bush and Republicans are being viewed with new respect. A survey conducted in the first two weeks of August of 1,000 Hispanics by McLaughlin & Associates for the Latino Coalition showed that the Democratic lead in a generic congressional ballot has fallen to 12 percentage points from 34 two years ago. Gore got 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000. But in a hypothetical rematch, Bush leads Gore, 50 to 35 percent.

Overall, Bush got a 68 percent job approval rating from Hispanics, almost identical to his approval rating among Americans as a whole. Interestingly, support for Bush was stronger among Hispanics who preferred to be interviewed in Spanish rather than English, and stronger among those who were not registered to vote than among those who were.

Again, a poll is not an election. But in an event widely ignored by the news media even in California, at their state convention this month 22 of the 32 chapters of the Mexican American Political Association endorsed Republican Bill Simon for governor over incumbent Democrat Gray Davis, as startling a political development as if the National Rifle Association were to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Bush and Republicans appear to be making inroads among Jewish voters, the most reliably Democratic of white ethnic groups. In 2000, only one Jew in five voted for Bush. Several surveys taken this year indicate that proportion could double in 2004.

It's important to keep this in perspective. This November and in 2004, most blacks, Hispanics and Jews will vote Democratic. If Bush were to increase his share of the black vote by 50 percent, he would still have only one black in eight voting for him.

But marginal increases can be critical. If Bush had gotten 12 instead of 8 percent of the black vote, there'd have been no need for a recount in Florida; he'd have taken Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico from Gore, and might have won in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Worse for Democrats could be a change in perception. Democrats tend to campaign in minority communities by calling Republicans names. If it becomes acceptable to vote Republican, Democrats would have to address issues to gain minority votes. They're not very comfortable doing that.

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08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
08/15/02: Mineta's war on what?
08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly