Republican pollster John McLaughlin has a new poll showing that only 42% of American Jews want to re-elect President Obama. This has a lot of Jewish Republicans excited. See Jennifer Rubin ("Jews Wake Up?") and Tevi Troy ("Jewish Awakening?") for some excited reaction.
I don't mean to burst their bubble, but this poll is near worthless. It asks, "Would you vote to re-elect Barack Obama as President or would you consider voting for someone else?"
There are two problems with the wording. The first is that it poses a choice between Obama and "someone else," who could be anybody at all -- Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, the reincarnation of Golda Meir, etc. Posing choices between existing political figures and unnamed alternatives is not a terribly insightful practice. Second, it further stacks the deck by making the choice between definitely voting for Obama or being willing to "consider" somebody else. Considering does not mean being set on, leaning toward, or even having a serious chance of voting for an alternative. It just means leaving open some possibility.
This poll isn't a legitimate attempt to gauge Jewish voting behavior in 2012. It's an attempt to create a Republican talking point.