Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ (DWS) reelection campaign may be sagging under the weight of Barack Obama’s slide in popularity among American Jews. The most recent poll data from Florida’s 23rd Congressional District shows DWS is leading Republican Karen Harrington by 4.5% which is just inside the margin of error.
A Gravis Marketing poll conducted on October 1 and 2 (before Wednesday night’s debate) found DWS receiving 44.2% to Harrington’s 39.7% with a very significant 16.1% of potential voters calling themselves “undecided.”
Being under 45% with a month to go is a precipitous drop in support for DWS who beat Harrington 60/39 in 2010. DSW under 45% this late with a 16.1% “undecided” might not mean Harrington wins, but it will mean DWS will have to spent money and time campaigning in her own District rather than going elsewhere to help other Democrats including Barack Obama.
The District has 13% more Democrats and although the geographic area is slightly different than it was in 2008, the core of this District voted 63% for Obama in 2008. This means the 69 % White and largely Jewish District, at this point, is supporting DWS 18 points less than it supported Obama in 2008 and 15 points less than it supported her in 2010. Worse still, DWS actually trails 36/35.7 among those who are certain to vote for either candidate. At this point the 13 point Democrat edge in the District is not helping her.
This begs the question: Why would a Jewish Democrat be under 45% at this point while campaigning in a highly Jewish Democrat District?
A possible answer comes from an early July story which didn’t get much notice except among Jewish voters in the District. A DNC delegate was forced to resign when her anti-Semitic Emails became public. The Jewish voters in South Florida noticed this and it made them watch the Democrats’ convention more closely. What they saw was more anti-Semitic antics from Arab American Democrat delegates.
And those “undecided” voters, where will they go? Two separate in-depth studies came to the same conclusion: 82% will eventually go to the challenger. Following this formula gives Wasserman Schultz 48.2% and Harrington 51.7%. None of this factors in the reason for these voters being “undecided” which may simply be their way of saying they’re not voting for Shultz over Obama’s treatment of Jews in general and Israel in particular. In that case they could break even bigger – say 14/2 for Harrington.