Voices in Focus: Obama Scores With Jewish and Indian-American Voters

* As analysts prepare their predictions for November’s presidential election, two recent polls indicate that President Barack Obama can at least count on support from two ethnic groups — most Jews and Indian-Americans plan to vote for the incumbent, according to The Jewish Daily Forward and The South Asian Times.

The Forward reports:

President Obama enjoys the support of three-fifths of American Jews, according to the latest American Jewish Committee survey, a significant improvement over where he stood half a year ago in the organization’s polling.

The poll, released Monday, shows Obama with 61 percent of the Jewish vote, as opposed to 28 percent for Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is the likely Republican nominee.

That’s an improvement for the president over a previous AJC survey in September, when Obama scored 50 percent and Romney 32 percent.

But it’s still substantially lower than the 78 percent Obama scored among Jews in exit polls in 2008 and an improvement for Romney over the 22 percent garnered by the previous GOP nominee, John McCain.

And The South Asian Times adds:

A new survey, results of which were released on Tuesday, showed that 85% Indian-Americans had a favorable impression of President Obama. And 56% of them thought poorly of Romney.

Asked who they would vote for if elections were held today — Indian Americans were totally for Obama over Romney (76 to 8%), over Santorum (72-8)or any other Republican candidate.

Of the Asian-American communities surveyed,Indian-Americans were the most pro-Democrats and most anti-Republicans.

* In other news from the South-Asian community, a group of South-Asian New Jersey residents plan to hold a rally in support of the Rutgers student Dharun Ravi, whose online spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, has been blamed for Clementi’s subsequent suicide and became a nationwide symbol of anti-gay bullying.

Ravi was convicted in March on charges that include bias, intimidation, invasion of privacy and evidence tampering, and he will be sentenced on May 21. His attorneys have argued for a sentence of probation, and his supporters plan to rally outside the Statehouse in Trenton on May 14, DesiTalk reports.

In an email circulated in the community, those leading the effort said they want to “bring awareness” to what they believe was a prosecution that was influenced by gay rights activists and a national outcry over misstated facts of the case.

Ravi, who could face deportation to India, has been seen by some as a victim.

Restaurateur Satish Mehtani, who owns Mirage, the venue of the May 4 meeting, told The Star-Ledger that he expects about 400 people to attend [the rally].

“This is the talk of our community,” he said. “We Indians feel very strongly that this boy didn’t get proper justice. He was used as an example by the prosecutor, and punishment he faces does not fit the crime.”

* In the community and ethnic press, we have seen coverage of workers in restaurants, nail salons and the construction trades alleging workplace exploitation and fighting back. Now it’s car wash workers — specifically those at Car Wash Sutphin in Jamaica, Queens — who are demanding fair treatment and wages in a protest against a boss that they accuse of abuse and harassment, El Diario La Prensa reports.

Car Wash workers in Jamaica, Queens, demanded better treatment and wages. (Photo by EDLP / Gloria Medina)

“Our boss treats us badly. Sometimes he shouts at us, and we earn less than minimum wage,” said David de la Cruz Pérez, a Guatemalan worker.

De la Cruz Pérez, 41, stood together with community leaders and city council member James Sanders Jr., with whom he delivered a list of demands to Fernando Magalhaes, the owner of the business. The demands included improved working conditions, higher wages, and turning over tips to employees.

* IrishCentral reported  on a record-smashing fundraising success last week, when the The American Ireland Fund, an international philanthropic organization, raised $4.3 million at a star-studded Lincoln Center fundraiser. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and the author Colum McCann were present.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan was the guest of honor on the night and he spoke impressively of his own Irish journey, his people were famine-tossed arrivals in America in the 1850s and now he runs the largest bank in the world with over 238,000 employees.

Despite his incredible rise he has never forgotten those Irish who risked all in order to make it possible for him in America.

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