Poll: Anti-Semitic Attitudes Match Lowest Level Recorded; Targeting Of Jews For Violence And Blame Continues
New York, NY, October 29, 2009 … A nationwide survey of the American people released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) finds anti-Semitic attitudes equal to the lowest level in all the years of taking the pulse of the American attitudes toward Jews.
The survey found that 12% of Americans hold anti-Semitic views, a decline from 15% in 2007 and matching lowest figure ever recorded by ADL, in 1998. In its 1964-benchmark survey 29% of Americans were categorized as having anti-Semitic views.
The 2009 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews, a national telephone survey of 1,200 American adults, was conducted September 26-October 4, 2009 by Marttila Communications of Washington, D.C. and Boston. The margin of error is +/- 2.8%.
"The fact that anti-Semitic attitudes have reached their lowest point to date is good news, the product of many years of constant and intense efforts by ADL and others to make America a more accepting society," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"At the same time," Mr. Foxman noted, "there continues to be violence targeting Jews and an increasing use of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. We can't dismiss that 12% of the American people means that there are still over 30 million Americans that hold anti-Semitic views."
Commenting on the incongruity of good numbers with the headlines of anti-Semitic violent incidents and public expressions, Mr. Foxman said that "just as the good news about the election of an African-American as President has been tempered by the surfacing of racism and conspiratorial thinking in reaction, so too the significant diminution of widespread prejudice against Jews is tempered by the manifestation of violence, conspiracy theories and insensitivities toward them."
Mr. Foxman added "that even in this 2009 good news survey, some bad news remains a constant, such as 30% believing that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America, 29% believing that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ. Equally of concern is that more than a quarter of African-Americans -- 28% -- hold anti-Semitic beliefs and more than a third of foreign born Hispanics --35% --have such attitudes."
The Findings: Reinforcing Certain Trends
· Education remains a strong predictor of anti-Semitic propensities, with the most well-educated Americans largely free of prejudicial views while less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views. 19.5% of Americans with less than a college education hold anti-Semitic views, a significantly higher figure than the overall 12% (view graph).
· The major manifestations of anti-Semitic attitudes lie in the accusation of disproportionate Jewish power among those holding anti-Semitic views (view graph).
79% of those holding anti-Semitic views believe that Jews have too much power in business, compared to 18% of the general population.
68% accuse Jews of controlling Wall Street, compared to 15% overall.
64% say that Jews have too much power in the U.S. compared to 13% overall.
· Once again, the survey found a major gap between foreign-born Hispanic attitudes toward Jews and for those born in the U.S.
35% of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views, compared to 18% for those born in the U.S. This finding holds out the hope that children of Hispanic immigrants, exposed to America's diverse society and education, will continue to move away from classical anti- Semitic attitudes (view graph).
· Attitudes toward Jews in the African-American community continue to be of concern though in this survey there is a significant decline in those holding anti-Semitic views.
28% of African-Americans fall into the category of those holding anti-Semitic views, a lowering from the high of 37% in 1992 and 32% in 2007 (view graph).
· At all age levels, men are more likely than women to hold anti-Semitic views. Between the ages of 18-39, 16% of men compared to 12% of women hold anti-Semitic views; between the ages of 40-64, 12% of men and 10% of women hold anti-Semitic views, and 65 and older, 15% of men and 9% of women hold anti-Semitic views (view graph).
In measuring anti-Semitic attitudes the survey relied upon an anti-Semitism index developed by ADL and the University of California over 45 years ago.
The index includes 11 questions which are used to gauge respondent's anti-Semitic propensities. Those who agree with six or more of the index statements are considered to have anti-Semitic attitudes.
Marttila Communications, a Washington, DC/Boston-based public opinion research firm, which has conducted ADL's previous surveys, conducted this national telephone survey of 1,747 adults. The base sample is 1,200 plus an oversample of 256 African Americans, and 250 Hispanics, bringing the oversample for both communities to 400 each.
For those questions answered by all 1,200 respondents, the survey results have a margin of error of +/- 2.8%. For many questions, the survey used the technique of "split sampling," a process in which the 1,200 person sample was split into two demographically representative samples of 600 respondents each. For those questions that were answered by 600 respondents, the survey has a margin of error of +/- 4 %.
The purpose of split sampling in the survey was to maximize the number of questions that could be asked, to test different hypotheses about an issue, and to test the impact of different question wording.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.