Jewish voters: By the numbers

TAMARAC, Florida (Reuters) - The four states with the largest Jewish populations account for 127 of the 240 Electoral College votes needed to secure the White House:

* New York (almost 1.8 million Jews and 29 electoral votes)

* California (more than 1.2 million and 55 votes)

* Florida (about 640,000 and 29 votes)

* New Jersey (more than 500,000 and 14)

Israel as an issue in Jewish vote: In 2008, Israel ranked eighth out of 15 issues in importance for candidate choice. Among the issues above Israel: healthcare, gasoline prices, energy, taxes, education. Below Israel: appointments to Supreme Court and the environment.

MAIN STORY: “Why Obama’s Jewish margin in Florida could be critical”

Percentage of Florida’s Jewish population: 3.4 percent (mostly in South Florida).

Percentage of Jews who voted in 2008: 96 percent. (By comparison, Hispanics and blacks far outnumber Jews in Florida but register to vote and turn out in smaller percentages.)

National Jewish population: About 2 percent of the U.S. population, with estimates ranging from 5.5 million to 6.5 million.

Party affiliation: 61 percent are Democrats, 14 percent Republicans, 20 percent independent. (The rest identify with other parties.)

Jewish support for Democrats: Since 1916 the percentage of Jews voting for the Republican candidate for president has varied from 10 percent to 45 percent, while support for Democrats has averaged 71 percent. Republicans in the 1970s and 1980s attracted as much as 31 percent to 37 percent of the Jewish vote, but only 15 percent to 23 percent since then - with support for Democratic congressional candidates even higher.

In 2008, Obama received an estimated 78 percent of the Jewish vote.

Sources: The Jewish Demography Project; the Solomon Project; the Jewish Data Bank, a collaborative project of the Jewish Federations of North America and the University of Connecticut’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish life; Roper Center for Public Opinion Research; Gallup

Editing by David Adams and Douglas Royalty