Monday, August 28, 2006

The Jews & The Republicans

From the Washington Post, an article about how demographics will help the Republicans get more of the Jewish vote.
Republicans are hoping a strong defense of Israel translates into greater support among Jewish voters this fall, but the biggest political benefits are likely to come long after the 2006 campaign concludes, according to political and demographic experts studying Jewish voting trends.

The Jewish group proving most receptive to Republican overtures over the past decade is among the smallest: Orthodox Jews. Right now, they account for roughly 10 percent of the estimated 5.3 million Jews in the United States, hardly enough to tip most elections.

This is likely to change significantly in the years ahead because Orthodox Jews are the fastest-growing segment of the Jewish population, raising the possibility that one of the most reliable Democratic voting blocs will be increasingly in play in future elections, according to surveys of Jewish voting and religious and social habits.

“The likelihood is there will be a very quick jump in the number of orthodox as the baby boomers age and die,” said David A. Harris of the American Jewish Committee, a nonpartisan organization that conducts an annual survey of Jews. “They will be increasingly replaced by Orthodox children who are more” in line with Republicans.

[. . .]

But it might take years for Republicans to benefit in elections.

Researchers commissioned by the American Jewish Committee found that the group most receptive to the GOP message is Orthodox Jews. They are much more likely to base their political decisions on a candidate’s view on Israel than other Jews, researchers have found.

The number of Jewish adults between 18 and 29 who describe themselves as Orthodox is 16 percent, nearly double those ages 30 to 39, the AJC-commissioned study found. The percentages are believed to be even higher among Jews under the age of 18, who account for about 20 percent of the overall Jewish population, according to Nathan Diament, director of public policy at the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. These Jews, who regularly attend synagogue and tend to be conservative on social issues, are also having children at a higher rate than other Jews, Harris said.

In many ways, their views are in sync with those of Christians who attend church regularly, which is one of the most reliable indicators of how a person votes in politics today. The more frequently a person attends church or synagogue, the more likely he or she is to vote Republican, polls show.

“Suddenly the Jewish landscape, based on current trends, will look very different,” Harris said. “That has implications for voting patterns [and] party affiliation.”
This, of course, is merely a particular instance of a broader trend. From the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal:
Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They’re not having enough of them, they haven’t for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That’s a “fertility gap” of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20% -- explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today’s problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. . . .

The fertility gap doesn’t budge when we correct for factors like age, income, education, sex, race--or even religion. Indeed, if a conservative and a liberal are identical in all these ways, the liberal will still be 19 percentage points more likely to be childless than the conservative. Some believe the gap reflects an authentic cultural difference between left and right in America today. As one liberal columnist in a major paper graphically put it, “Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation.” It would appear liberals have been quite successful controlling overpopulation--in the Democratic Party.
Of course, Republicans can’t really be certain that the future is theirs.

The liberals have control of a major part of the institutions of political socialization: the media, higher education and increasingly elementary and secondary schools.

Which is why the culture wars in elementary and secondary schools can be expected to heat up. If liberals are going to have any shot at future political power, they must indoctrinate other people’s children. They don’t have enough of their own.


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