political scientist

Gillibrand and Kosher Chicken

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Politicos are still puzzling over last week’s appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Hillary Clinton’s seat in the U.S. Senate and  Gov. David Paterson’s missteps in announcing his choice – a “mishandled circus,” according to CUNY political scientist Douglas Muzzio.. But one thing you can take to the bank: Gillibrand, who will face voters statewide in 2010, is going to be eating a lot of kosher chicken in the months ahead.

Jewish Vote, 2008: More Study Needed

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Mik Moore, the Jewish Funds for Justice blogger and co-creator of the “Great Shlep,” the pro-Obama youth crusade in Florida, has a provocative item this week about why predictions of an anti-Obama vote in the Jewish community proved wildly inaccurate.

McCain, Obama and the Wright Factor

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 James Besser in Washington Over the weekend the blogosphere was filled with speculation about this question: would Sen. John McCain now be leading Sen Barack Obama if he had more actively raised the issue of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Democratic nominee’s former pastor? Opinion is divided, with many analysts saying that  the issue of the sinking economy would still trump all others,  but one question has not been actively raised: what about the Jewish community?

New Polls: Obama Surging Among Jewish Voters

Friday, October 24th, 2008 James Besser in Washington For months, Jewish Democrats have argued that Sen. Barack Obama’s relatively weak lead among Jewish voters – at least compared to other recent Democratic nominees – would evaporate as the election neared. With less than two weeks left until November 4, there  was evidence this week that they were right. Two polls released on Thursday showed the Illinois Democrat steadily winning over Jewish voters.

Rabbis for Obama

Thursday, September 11th, 2008 James Besser in Washington With Election Day now looking perilously close, the Barack Obama presidential campaign is ramping up its Jewish outreach in critical states like Florida. And this week a group of rabbis - now approaching 400 - pitched in to make the Illinois senator’s case.

Pelosi: Lieberman Could be Toast

Friday, August 15th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Sen. Joe Lieberman is riding high as a top surrogate for his pal John McCain, but he could face rough going in the Senate next year if the Democrats pick up as many seats on November 4 as most experts predict. This week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued the strongest-yet warning to the former Democrat - not that Lieberman seems very interested in the opinions of his old colleagues.

Good News for McCain — or Polling Mush?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s a political shocker for you: Jews who say religion is “an important part of my daily life” are more likely to vote for Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, than those who say religion isn’t as important. How do you spell “Duh?” This nugget was part of a Gallup poll released this week that shows the same dynamic working in the broader population, but even more so.

ADL and Hagee Make Nice. But Will That End the Controversy?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 James Besser in Washington So will the exchange of make-nice letters between ADL chief Abe Foxman and Pastor John Hagee tamp down the controversy swirling around the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) leader once an for all?

Political Insider: McCain Faces Evangelical Dilemma After Hagee-Parsley Repudiation

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 Sen. John McCain’s decision to reject the endorsements of Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley (see this week’s Jewish Week story here) could bolster support from centrist swing voters - including some Jews who are inclined to vote Republican but remain concerned about the influence of the religious right on the Republican Party.

Why is Obama So Worried About the Jews?

Thursday, May 15th, 2008 Why is Sen. Barack Obama devoting so much time and energy trying to win over Jewish voters? On the surface, the numbers don’t add up. A majority of Jews are going to vote Democratic in November’s presidential contest no matter what; does the difference between 61 percent (what Obama scored in a recent Gallup Poll and 74 percent (what John Kerry actually won in 2004) really make that much of a difference?
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