Presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have Israeli-Americans to thank for putting him over the top in key battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania should he win on Tuesday.
About 80,000 Americans in Israel have voted through iVoteIsrael and a poll conducted by the organization shows 85 percent of the voters using the nonprofit organization’s services voted for Romney, according to a report by The Times of Israel.
The firm said similar findings to the overall results also applied in two battleground states, Ohio (84.4% for Romney) and Florida (85.8% for Romney) during a press conference. The poll results were based on the “only authoritative exit poll” conducted among actual voters living in Israel, according to iVoteIsrael.
“This is very consistent with what we are anticipating,” Abraham Katsman, a counsel for Republicans Abroad Israel, said of the poll. “The 85% number is maybe even slightly higher than we expected, and probably reflects a stronger enthusiasm on the part of people who are voting either for Romney or against Obama.”
Some 80,000 US voters from 49 states submitted absentee ballots through iVoteIsrael, its national director Elie Pieprz said. “This represents an unprecedented increase in voter participation from the 20,000 or so that voted in 2008,” he said. Between 20 and 25 percent of all overseas votes in the 2012 elections will come from Israel, according to Pieprz.
Meanwhile, the acting chairman of Democrats Abroad Israel, Hillel Schenker claims iVoteIsrael’s polls misrepresented the true picture of Americans voting in Israel. Schenker says many more Israelis cast their absentee ballots through the Vote from Abroad website or handed their documents directly to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Schenker offered no polling evidence to suggest more Americans in Israel are voting for Mr. Obama and the Democrats than for Mr. Romney and Republicans.
“There are many kibbutzim which have over 100 Americans,” he said. “They didn’t need iVoteIsrael.”
Asked which issues were most important to them when they cast their absentee ballot, nearly two thirds in the iVoteIsrael poll responded, “Israel-related issues such as the status of Jerusalem and Palestinians.” Some 3% said healthcare was the issue that most guided their voting decision, and fewer than 1% said taxation.