US President Barack Obama, who was re-elected on Tuesday for a second four-year term, has won the support of 69 percent of Jewish voters, according to an exit poll, while 30 percent backed his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The survey, posted on CNN's website, was commensurate with projections by pre-election polls by Gallup and other pollsters that Obama would win two-thirds or more of the Jewish vote.
In the final days of the campaign, both Democrats and Republicans targeted Jewish voters in swing states, particularly Ohio and Florida.
Jews constituted 2 percent of the overall CNN response group, but the network did not reveal the total number of people it asked after they had cast their ballots, so it was impossible to assess a margin of error.
In 2008, exit polls showed Obama beating Republican candidate John McCain by 78 to 21 percent among Jewish voters. The Solomon Project later estimated that his actual share among Jewish Americans was actually closer to 74 percent, taking into account the small sample size of the exit poll.
Jewish and Israeli leaders congratulate Obama
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said in reaction to Obama's victory: "We congratulate President Barack Obama on his re-election victory and wish him much success as he begins to plan for America's future for his second term. We express our gratitude to Governor Mitt Romney for his long record of dedication to public service and commitment to working with the new administration to ensure that America will remain strong and flourish.
"We believe that now is the time for our leadership on both sides of the aisle to unite as the United States faces so many challenges, including the economy, our national security, and the leadership role we play in the world. The World Jewish Congress will be a steadfast partner in helping to face these formidable challenges, in the interest of keeping America strong, and in the defense and support of our staunchest ally in the Middle East, Israel," declaredLauder.
Israel’s President Shimon Peres called Obama an "exceptional" man and said he "represents the future," ‘Israel Radio’ reported. Speaking at an academic ceremony, Peres said: "He cares for the peace of all, and makes sure that all the poor are healthy and fed."
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also congratulated Obama for winning a second term and said the strategic alliance between Israel and the US was "stronger than ever." In a written statement which was issued following Obama’s victory speech in Chicago Netanyahu said: "I will continue to work with President Obama to ensure the interests that are vital for the security of Israel's citizens.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he had no doubt Obama would continue his policies, which "fundamentally support Israel's security". Barak added: "It is possible to overcome any differences in positions that may arise.”
Jews elected to Senate and House
In the elections for the US Senate and the House of Representatives, several new Jewish politicians were elected. In Florida, the Democrats Lois Frankel and Alan Grayson were elected to the House. Frankel, 64, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and an ex-mayor of West Palm Beach, defeated Adam Hasner, a former majority leader in the Florida state Senate who also is Jewish.
Grayson, 54, had been unseated in the Republican electoral surge in 2010, but returned to the House by defeating Todd Long in a newly created Orlando-area district.
In New Jersey, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach lost his bid for a congressional seat. The Orthodox rabbi, author and media personality was defeated in his effort to unseat Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat.
In California, the sitting Congressmen Brad Sherman beat fellow a Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman, by 60 percent to 40. The race was a result of the redrawing of Congressional District boundaries, pitting the two sitting Jewish legislators against one another.
Voters in Illinois returned Democrat Brad Schneider returned to the House of Representatives.
In the race for the Senate, incumbents Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were all able to hold onto their seats. In Ohio, the Jewish Republican candidate Josh Mandel failed in his bid to unseat sitting Senator Sherrod Brown. In Nevada, the Democratic Jewish candidate Shelley Berkley lost against the incumbent, the Republican Senator Dean Heller.
Overall, the Republicans managed to maintain control of the House of Representatives while the Democrats continue to have a majority of seats in the Senate.