Israel key issue for Jewish voters in New York 9th race

Former congressman Anthony Weiner

Former congressman Anthony Weiner

New Yorkers go to the polls today in what is being seen by many commentators as a referendum on President Barack Obama's popularity.

The vote for the congressional seat of New York's ninth district, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens, was called after the resignation of Jewish representative Anthony Weiner amidst a sex scandal.

The district has been held by the Democratic Party since the 1920s, but pollsters have predicted an inexperienced Republican businessman could cause an upset.

If Bob Turner, who is 70 and has never held elected office before, wins the vote, some will put it down to his unequivocal support for Israel.

In contrast, his opponent David Weprin is suffering amidst accusations that President Obama is mishandling the economy and is hostile to Israel, particularly given his speech calling for a return to 1967 borders.

Mr Weprin, who is an Orthodox Jew, also voted in favour of gay marriage which has cost him the support of some voters. Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a popular figure among religious Jewish voters, said last month that he would not back Mr Weprin.

Last updated: 2:16pm, September 13 2011