The Israel Factor panel analyzes the Illinois Senator's low ranking
On the eve of the second Super Tuesday, the Israel Factorpanel was left with three candidates only to choose from - Republican John McCain, and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Tomorrow, or very shortly, we might need to eliminate Clinton - or not. But in the meantime, these are the three left in the field who we are ranking. For those with short memories: we started this project ranking 24 candidates and added two along the way.
McCain is ranked higher than Clinton, because unlike last month, when we asked the panelists to pick their nominee, this time all we asked is for a 1-10 mark to each of the candidates, and not to choose between them. Two panelists whom we know prefer a Clinton president over a McCain president still gave them the same mark.
But here is the question whose answer we most to know: What's wrong with Obama? Why is it that the panel keeps his ranking fairly low?
We asked, and got an answer. Presenting the panel with 16 possible reasons for ranking him lower than others, we now know a lot more about the considerations leading the experts to think that Obama will not be as good as Clinton and McCain, as far as Israel's interests go.
Here is the table, followed by few remarks of analysis:
1. This is fairly self-explanatory. The good news for Obama: It's not that they think he is bad as much as they think the others are better. The bad news: most of the things working against him in this survey are things he can't change, such as his record and experience.
2. Two policy-related matters were marked with an average of higher than 3, and, interestingly, these were not matters specifically concerning Israel but rather issues related to Obama's overall strategy: Iran and terror.
3. Many of the issues on which there was a lot of discussion here in America regarding Obama and Israel (whether he is Muslim or not, his pastor, and Malley and Brzezinski) are generally dismissed by the panel as almost insignificant. On the other hand, the panel does recognize the fact that Obama made a lot of statements that can only be considered as friendly and accommodating toward Israel. Of the eight panelists, only one is really concerned about statements Obama made (giving a mark of 4 for this issue), and only one seems to think (also a 4) that he did not emphasize U.S.-Israel relations enough (what counts as enough, is another question).
Here's one more interesting nugget:
Using the method I employed last month, here is how the different panelists were ranking Obama on Iran. Panelists in blue are those who said last month that they prefer Clinton to McCain, and in red are those who want McCain as president.
Clearly, for those preferring McCain, Iran is an overwhelming issue, and all of them ranked Obama low on this question. Those preferring Clinton (except one) were not terribly concerned by Obama's intention to negotiate with the Iranian president. This is especially interesting considering the fact that on the issue of Iran it seems as if Clinton is closer to McCain than she is to Obama (she doesn't want such meeting and voted for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment designating Iranian forces as terrorists).
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