Eroding Support for Obama among Jewish Voters

As the race for 2012 heats up, President Obama faces some difficult losses -- more Jewish adults disapprove of President Obama's overall performance than those who approve, according to the latest poll from the American Jewish Committee.

The annual survey found that only 45 percent of potential Jewish voters approve of Obama's job performance -- a dramatic drop from last year's 57 percent approval rating.

Forty-eight percent of respondents, by contrast, disapprove of the president's performance.

The major sticking point, according to the poll, is the economy.  A stunning 60 percent of the Jewish community said they disapprove of the way the president has handled the economy, as opposed to 37 percent who do approve.

And Obama saw another steep drop in the number of Jews who approve of his handling of U.S.-Israel relations -- only 40 percent approve, down 15 percentage points from last year.

The survey was conducted just as Israeli-Palestinian relations came into the global spotlight this past week at the United Nations, when Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas controversially asked the UN to recognize Palestine as an independent state.

President Obama appeared to side with Israel, however, in his own speech before the UN last week, where he stressed the need for Israeli security.

But the president has come under fire this past year from Israel supporters, most notably after he voiced support for a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders -- an idea that Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu called "indefensible."

The drop in Jewish support could spell trouble for Obama in 2012, as the Jewish community tends to vote along Democratic lines.  Obama faces worries from other minority groups, as well; Rep. Maxine Waters fired back at the president Monday morning after he spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus and asked the caucus to "stop complaining" and "press on."

"He would never say to the Jewish community, 'stop complaining about Israel,'" Waters told CBS. "I don't know who he was talking to, because we're certainly not complaining."