New York, NY, October 28, 2013 … On the occasion of its centennial, the latest Anti-Defamation League (ADL) survey of the American people found that 12 percent of Americans harbor deeply entrenched anti-Semitic attitudes. This marks a 3 percent decline since the League’s previous poll on anti-Semitic attitudes in 2011.
The 2013 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America, a national telephone survey of 1,200 adults, was conducted October 12-22 by Marttila Strategies of Washington, D.C. and Boston. The margin of error is +/- 2.8 percent.
The ADL poll measured anti-Semitic propensities using an 11-question index developed by ADL nearly 50 years ago. The first poll, issued in 1964, found that 29 percent of Americans were infected at the time with anti-Jewish attitudes.
“It is heartening that attitudes toward Jews have improved over the last few years and, historically, have declined significantly in America,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “On the occasion of our centennial it causes us to take a broader perspective, to appreciate how far we have come in 100 years. In 1913 there were no surveys like this, but anti-Semitism was rife in public and private expressions, in universities, jobs and neighborhoods. In 1964, when we did our first survey, we found that 29 percent of Americans held anti-Semitic views. So we -- and America -- have made real progress, and yet disturbing indicators remain.”
In the new survey a significant number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews, with many of the findings virtually unchanged since the previous survey in 2011:
"The poll shows that while we have made great progress in promoting understanding in American society, the most enduring anti-Semitic canards continue to hold sway among some segments of the American public,” said Mr. Foxman. “Disturbingly large numbers of Americans continue to hold fast to the classic anti-Semitic canards. It is particularly frustrating that since 1964, 30 percent of Americans have consistently believed that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country of America. This dual-loyalty charge has tenaciously persisted despite the sweeping demographic changes that have taken place over the past fifty years.
Mr. Foxman added, “After making gains in earlier years, the past several years have seen almost no movement of the needle on the percentages for belief in Jewish control of Hollywood, Wall Street and business. The high percentages of Americans believing in classic anti-Semitic stereotypes dramatically make the case of the need for further anti-bias education and for confronting the most pervasive anti-Semitic canards in society.”
As in previous surveys, the most educated Americans are largely free of prejudicial views. Less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views. Age is also a strong predictor of anti-Semitic propensities. Younger Americans – those under age 39 – are remarkably free of prejudicial views.
The poll also looked at anti-Semitic views among significantly large minority groups:
“We are heartened by the significant drop in the levels within both the Hispanic community and the African-American community,” said Mr. Foxman. “While the changes are significant, it is still troubling to see such a high number for foreign-born Hispanics. It shows that immigrants to the United States bring with them deeply ingrained anti-Semitic attitudes, and that we must remain vigilant in working to counter these attitudes among the foreign born.”
Jews were found to be held in high regard on many key measurements. Even Americans who hold the most anti-Semitic views agreed with many positive statements about Jews, including:
The survey was conducted with a base sample of 1,200, plus an over sample of 281 African-Americans and 199 Hispanics, bringing the over sample for both communities to 400 each. For those questions answered by all 1,200 respondents, the survey results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. 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 national samples of 600 respondents each or three demographically representative national samples of 400 respondents. For those questions that were answered by 600 respondents, the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. For those questions that were answered by 400 respondents, the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
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.