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What's the Matter with Palm Beach County?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2015

Eric M. Uslaner*
University of Maryland–College Park
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Eric M. Uslaner, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland–College Park, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail:


American Jews voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in 2012 despite strong Republican efforts to win their votes. Republicans charged that Obama was not sufficiently supportive of Israel and that Mitt Romney was closer to Jewish opinions on this salient issue. Republicans miscalculated. For most American Jews, Israel was not a key voting issue. American Jews were also closer to Obama on Middle East issues than they were to Republicans. There was also a cultural chasm between American Jews and the Tea Party, reflective of long-standing tensions between Jews and evangelicals. Using surveys of the Jewish vote and the full electorate, I show that this cultural divide was more salient for Jews than for other white voters — and that there is at least preliminary evidence that this cultural divide may be important for other minority groups.

Copyright © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2015 

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