Palm Beach recorded a large decline in support for President Obama but Broward County continued to be the best locale for Democrats churning out incredible numbers once again for the nominee. Both counties have over 200,000 Jewish-American voters so why did Palm Beach drop-off and Broward did not? Did Palm Beach County have more Jewish voters who abandoned President Obama than Broward based on the President’s perceived stands on Israel?
The simple answer is no, the President actually had a Jewish problem in both counties. But one county had the resources, infrastructure, discipline and demographic advantages to overcome this problem and the other did not.
Broward County has experienced a massive influx of immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin American since 2000, with the shifting demographics replenishing dying off liberal Jewish-Americans with other Democrats, albeit less liberal ones on social/cultural issues. Palm Beach County on the other hand has had a much more limited influx of immigrants and economic growth in the county has been fueled by Republican related interests.
For all its critics, the Broward DEC is well organized relative to Democratic Party structures in other large counties. The party was able to work with OFA and outside groups to maximize turnout in the newer immigrant communities and increase turnout among younger professionals and white women in a way that Palm Beach couldn’t due to the party infighting, and the efforts of some activists/leaders in the area to either suppress turnout or help the Republicans at the top of the ticket.
The Republican allied Democrats and Jewish groups poured lots more money in mail and TV ads per capita in the West Palm Beach media market than the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market. The saturation of attacks on Obama’s Israel record (be it real or embellished) was much greater in the West Palm Beach market than it was in Broward County.
Broward County performed admirably for the Obama/Biden ticket producing great margins as always. Additionally, Broward had just a one point dropoff from Bill Nelson’s winning percentage to President Obama’s (the same as Miami-Dade County) but in Palm Beach Nelson ran five points ahead of Obama. This itself speaks loudly to the inability of Palm Beach Democrats to push the entire Democratic ticket on voters.
The problems in Palm Beach County are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, progressives have Broward and now Miami-Dade, Orange and Osceola to offset the loses in a one time Democratic monolith.