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ISRAEL: Absentee voting exit polls

October 30, 2008 |  8:32 am

Update on the overseas vote from Israel (see previous post):

The exit polls show a very strong preference for John McCain over Barack Obama. The polls, carried outExitpie_2   and analyzed by Keevoon, a Jerusalem-based research, strategy and communications firm, indicate that 76% of the polled voters in Israel said they voted for Republican candidate John McCain; 24% said they cast their ballot in favor the Democrat, Barack Obama. The information is based on data collected from 817 absentee voters at several voting events in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv as well as an online survey.

A few interesting figures about the voters:

  • A clear correlation was noted between religious observance and voting pattern.
  • Turnout among young voters ages 18 to 34 was high (37%)
  • 31% were first-time voters
  • 25% have lived in Israel for more than 15 years, 33% less than one year
  • 52% are also Israeli citizens
  • Half are either independent or not registered with either party

Exitfactor

A few interesting figures about their vote:

  • Exitparty_2
    46% of Democrats crossed party lines to vote for McCain.
    Only 2% of Republicans voted for Obama. And
    57% listed foreign policy (including Israel) as the most important factor in their consideration; 14% listed the economy; 7%, Iran; and 6%, the war in Iraq/terrorism.
    Nearly two-thirds were 'very concerned' with Iran; 93% agreed that a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the U.S.

Perhaps most interesting is that McCain is viewed as more capable of handling challenges, even among Obama voters.Exitcapabilities_2

Mitchell Barak, founder and CEO of Keevoon, said the margin was interesting "because it was so broad-based. It wasn't just New York and not just Republicans voting for McCain. His support was pretty consistent across the board demographically and geographically among the different states," as well as among those who live in Israel both permanently and temporarily.

Dena Lerner, project manager for Vote From Israel, the nonpartisan organization that encouraged voting and commissioned the poll, said the exit poll gave people "the opportunity to publicly voice their opinion in a manner that can be heard and recognized."

A different poll published in Israel this week surveyed the positions of Israelis on the U.S. elections. Asked whom they would vote for if they could, 46.4% answered McCain, 34% Obama, and 18.6% were undecided. More respondents answered that McCain would be better for Israel and would better handle the Iranian issue. More respondents believe Obama will handle the economic crisis better, and the two candidates scored nearly identitically on the question of who would be better for Israel on the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Earlier today, Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., told Israel radio that, either way, relations between Israel and the U.S. would not suffer. "The common interests, shared values and history of good relations" are strong, he said.

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

Source for data and graphics above: Keevoon Research, Strategy & Communications. With permission. Click images to enlarge.

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, as well as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

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