Exit poll: 80,000 Americans in Israel voted, 85% for Romney, 14% for Obama

According to an iVoteIsrael exit poll, half of the 160,000 eligible U.S. voters living in Israel voted absentee, of which an overwhelming majority selected Republican candidate Mitt Romney. That reportedly includes 7,500 registered in the swing state of Florida.

iVoteIsrael – the campaign that has worked hard to get American citizens living in Israel to vote absentee in next week’s U.S. presidential elections (and which I have been covering here since June and exposed to be a partisan, right-wing, anti-Obama initiative) – held a press conference Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem to announce the results of what they claim is the biggest exit poll of its kind ever conducted among American expats voting in an American election.

The campaign announced that a record number of 80,000 Americans who registered with them voted in this election, of which 85 percent voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, 14 percent for Obama (and 0.6 percent  for “Other”). This is more than double the turnout of the 2008 election, in which a reported 30,000 Americans voted, and the number could even be greater as there are people who voted without using the campaign’s services. According to iVoteIsrael, there are around 160,000 eligible American voters living in Israel, so they are boasting having reached exactly half.

The exit poll is based on a survey the campaign conducted via email asking all those who registered with them who they voted for – of which 1,572 responded, with a 2.5 percent margin of error. The majority of those who voted identify themselves as national religious (47.3 percent), the next in line being ultra-Orthodox (21.9 percent) while only 9.4 percent of voters polled identify as secular.

While it was predictable that a majority of American expats in Israel would vote for Romney as they are known to be predominantly Republican (76 percent voted for McCain in 2008), the most astonishing and significant data is how many of those are registered in key swing states:

According to iVoteIsrael, a whopping 7,500 of those in Israel who voted absentee in the election are registered in Florida and 3,500 in Ohio. In both states, overwhelming majorities voted for Romney.

Since the 2000 Bush-Gore election ultimately came down to only 537 absentee ballots cast in Florida, if iVoteIsrael’s numbers for Florida are indeed accurate and the election is close enough that absentee ballots are counted, they could successfully swing the election in favor of Mitt Romney.

As I reported in the Daily Beast, beyond the blatant partisanship of this self-proclaimed non-partisan campaign, several legal experts have told me the very fact that iVoteIsrael has served as a “ballot broker,” setting up drop-box locations for absentee ballots and mailing them in for voters, could be considered  a violation of U.S. election law, should the government choose to look into it.

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