Jewish Voters Receiving Anti-Obama Calls in Florida
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MIAMI — Jewish voters in Florida and at least one other state are being targeted by a telephone survey tying Democratic presidential nominee Senator Obama to Palestinian Arab causes, an advocacy group alleged today.
The Jewish Council for Education in Research says at least two women in separate states were push polled, or asked questions intended to influence voters while pretending to take a poll, yesterday afternoon from a caller who said he was from Research Strategies.
Joelna Marcus says she became uncomfortable when the caller asked if she was Jewish, whether she was Orthodox, and how often she attends synagogue.
The caller then asked if Ms. Marcus would be influenced if she learned that Mr. Obama had donated money to the Palestine Liberation Organization. The caller also asked how she would vote if she learned that someone on the Illinois senator’s staff had close ties to Palestine.
Ms. Marcus, a 71-year-old former college professor, said she was furious.
“I said you’re not polling me. This is un-American. This is unacceptable,” Ms. Marcus, a snowbird who lives in New Jersey and has a house in Key West, said. “And then this is the scary part. He said if you had not said that you were Jewish, you would have been disqualified.”
Deborah Minden, who lives in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Pittsburgh received a similar call yesterday afternoon. After asking basic demographic information, Ms. Minden, 56, said the caller said, “I’m going to ask you some things about Senator Obama and you tell me if it would make you more or less likely to vote for him.”
The poller then ticked off a list of accusations including that Mr. Obama’s church had made anti-Semitic statements and that Mr. Obama had met with Hamas leaders.
A spokesman for Senator McCain, who is on a two-day swing in Florida, did not immediately comment tonight.
“We see this as a disturbing but not unexpected ratcheting up of the kind of misinformation and outright lies about Obama’s record that we’ve literally seen since he declared his candidacy,” the co-executive director of the Jewish Council for Education & Research, Mik Moore, said. The organization has endorsed Mr. Obama for president.
During the Republican presidential primaries, Mr. McCain alleged push polling had taken place and asked for an investigation into thousands of calls to New Hampshire voters that disparaged him and supported rival Mike Huckabee.