ADL poll: Anti-Semitic attitudes on rise in USA

Age-old stereotypes about Jews, money and power still remain, a nationwide poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League shows.

November 3, 2011 21:59
2 minute read.
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US flag 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)


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A nationwide US survey released by the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday, found that anti-Semitic tendencies had increased, slightly but significantly.

Results showed that 15 percent of Americans hold anti-Semitic views, 3% more than in results of a similar poll carried out in 2009, and dropping back to levels of anti-Semitism found in 2007 and 2009.

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The 2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America, a national telephone survey of 1,754 adults, was conducted October 13-23 by Marttila Strategies of Washington, DC and Boston. The margin of error is +/-2.8%.

"The fact that anti-Semitic attitudes have increased significantly over the past two years is troubling and raises questions about the impact of broader trends in America – financial insecurity, social uncertainty, the decline in civility and the growth of polarization – on attitudes toward Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It is disturbing that with all of the strides we have made in becoming a more tolerant society, anti-Semitic beliefs continue to hold a vice-grip on a small but not insubstantial segment of the American public."

Among the findings, the poll demonstrated that stereotypes about Jews, money and Jewish power still remain.

19% of Americans answered "probably true" to the statement "Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street," an increase from 14% in 2009.

"The stereotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments," said Foxman. "Once again the old anti-Semitic standbys about Jewish loyalty, the death of Jesus and Jewish power remain strong."


15% of poll participants agreed that Jews are "more willing to use shady practices," a minor increase from 2009. 16% agreed that Jewish "business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance," a rise from 2009's 13%.

On a more positive note, 64% agreed that Jews have contributed much to cultural life of America, and 83% believed that Jews emphasize the importance of family life.

The survey was conducted with a base sample of 1,200, and an oversample of 243 African-Americans and 227 Hispanics, bringing the oversample for both communities to 400 each. 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, the survey had a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

"The purpose of split sampling in the survey was to maximize the number of questions that could be asked, to test different hypothesis about an issue, and to test the impact of different question wording."

The full survey and graphics are available on the League’s Website.

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