By: Chuck Bernstein  | 

Prime Chuck: “Objective Neutrals” (Vol. 38, Issue 2)

Another poll! And what's worse, another poll of Jewish voting patterns: this time conducted among students at Yeshiva College. Is there anything to be learned from another collage of numbers?

Perhaps. But the statistics tabulated on this page only hint at what went on in the minds of 60% of Yeshiva College as they filled out their questionnaires. 

The key to understanding the political mood at Yeshiva College is Question #5. A majority for Nixon should surprise nobody. But the fact that over 25% of the student body is either undecided or not voting can give us greater insight into the true political feelings of the Jewish college student.

For these 25%, who represent what I like to call the non-combatants, were apparently able to answer the later questions of the poll with considerably clearer heads than the combatants (those committed to a candidate) were.

On Question #8, for example, I find it extremely strange that by overwhelming percentages, the Nixon voters favored Nixon on every issue and the MeGovern voters favored McGovern on every issue. Can their respective favorites be so perfect in their eyes on Jewish issues when they themselves helped make “Scoop” Jackson the Yeshiva College choice for president? 

Rather, I find it unlikely that the combatants objectively evaluated the differences between the candidates on these issues and then proceeded to agree with their respective favorites down the line. Instead, I would venture to say that most said they supported their man’s position simply because he was their man and not because they knew, and agreed with his position.

As a result, the total figures to Question #8 may be clouded over with Nixon and McGovern chauvinism, and it is the non-combatants who become the mere objective spokesmen for the Jewish issues.

On Israel, tho non-combatants went 84% for Nixon. On the Jewish poor, 62% for McGovern. On quota systems 76% for Nixon. On Soviet Jewry, they split 50-50. And on aid to parochial schools, they went 65% for Nixon.

Is there any statistical evidence to support the objectivity of non-combatants? Yes! For on all of the above issues, tho undecided and the not voting categories went for the same man individually as they did combined, and by almost the same percentages.

It is interesting to note that the same lack of objectivity among combatants and similarity of objective feeling among non-combatants was also found in the personality issue of Question #7. The non-combatants went all out for McGovern on character, and all out for Nixon on leadership. They also leaned toward McGovern on credibility, but not as overwhelmingly.

The combatants were their usual chauvinist selves: they picked their own men straight down the line.

The moral of the story: If you can't decide how to vote, don’t ask someone who has.