Poll Reveals Majority Here Would Bar Doors to Refugees; View on Jews Held Static
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Poll Reveals Majority Here Would Bar Doors to Refugees; View on Jews Held Static

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Fortune Magazine made public today the results of a three-fold survey of public opinion in this country on the question of admitting more refugees than allowed under present immigration quotas, hostility toward the Jews in the United States and the reasons for anti-Semitism here or abroad.

On the question of refugees, the reply of persons polled was overwhelmingly in the negative — 83 per cent against opening America’s gates, 8.7 per cent in favor and 8.3 per cent without an opinion. The question was put in this form: “If you were a member of Congress would you vote yes or no on a bill to open the doors of the U.S. to a larger number of European refugees than now admitted under our immigration quotas?”

This result, however, the Fortune Survey pointed out, would not justify Nazis in concluding that Americans see eye to eye with them in their attitude toward the Jews. For, on the question of hostility toward the Jews, the survey produced results only slightly altered from a similar poll taken last November. Of persons polled on the question — “Do you believe that in this country hostility toward the Jewish people is growing or not?”–33.2 per cent answered in the affirmative, 45.7 per cent in the negative and 21.1 per cent did not know. The figures in the November survey were: growing, 32.5 per cent; not growing, 52.5 per cent; don’t know, 15 per cent.

Analyzing the figures, however, Fortune Survey pointed out that while there has been only a negligible increase in the number of people believing there is a growth of hostility in the United States toward the Jews, the number expressing doubt on the subject showed a considerable increase. Declaring this increase was “at the expense of the majority who believed that the Jews have nothing new to fear from U.S. public opinion,” the Survey continues: “This may mean that people are sensing at least a greater insecurity for Jews in America without actually putting it down as a growing public dislike for them.”

The Survey breaks down the statistics further, on the basis of urban and rural populations and the views held by the three chief religious sects. A majority of the urban population — in cities of 25,000 and up — believed anti-Semitism was on the increase in the United States, while a majority of the rural population took the opposite view. Among Jews polled, 40.5 per cent found hostility to Jews growing, 51.3 per cent thought it was not growing while 8.2 per cent didn’t know. Among Catholics, the percentages were 39.2, 42.4 and 18.4; among Protestants, 31.5, 46.5 and 22.

Father Coughlin’s influence, the Survey suggests, may have had something to do with “the greater disposition among the Catholics to imagine that there may be a Jewish question here.”

The third question put to the American public was: “What do you feel is the reason for hostility toward Jewish people here or abroad?” This question also was put to Jews as well as to non-Jews and was divided into three categories — reasons favorable to Jews, unfavorable, and external and neutral. The results by category were as follows: favorable to Jews, 12.8 per cent nationally as against 19.1 per cent by Jews; external and neutral, 16.1 per cent as against 44.6. Those without an opinion totalled 43.3 per cent nationally and 22.9 per cent among Jews.

“Here it appears,” the Survey comments, “that less than half of the reasons given for anti-Semitism in the world were anti-Semitic in their general sense, i.e., were critical of the Jews as Jews. Among the people giving these answers may be presumed to be the nucleus of any hostility in the U.S. toward the Jews. But 19.1 per cent of the answers given by Jews themselves, including multiple answers, were critical of their people. And these must be presumed to spring from racial self-criticism rather than anti-Semitism. Many gentiles may likewise find fault with the Jews without also having an active dislike for them. And more Americans say they don’t know what the reason for anti-Semitism is than put the blame for it on Jews. Perhaps the real clue to the actual extent of anti-Semitism in this country is to be found in the following cross tabulations:

“The boundaries of probable anti-Semitism in this country now can probably established, roughly, by computing from these tabulations, after adjusting to make the totals read 100 per cent. Those who believe that anti-Semitism here is growing, and trace the world trend in that direction to faults of the Jews themselves would come to 18.7 per cent of the total population. The people who favor denying admission to immigrants and who also find fault with the Jews would be the equivalent of 33.4 per cent. Somewhere between these two figures is probably the true number of Americans who carry the symptoms of latent anti-Semitism. Probably only a few of them already have a virulent case. The rest are simply the potential audience for the oratory of Father Coughlin, and of Bund leaders, and, perchance, of a President Windrip if It should Happen Here.”

Among reasons for anti-Semitism listed as “favorable” by the Survey are: “People are jealous and envious of Jews’ accomplishments,” “Jews too clever and successful.” Among “unfavorable” reasons: “Jews control and monopolize enterprise, hoard money, have too much power;” “Jews are unfair and dishonest in business;” “Jews are clannish, nonmixers, not good citizens, interested only in race.” Among “external and neutral” reasons: “Religious and racial prejudice;” “Germans, Hitler, dictatorship;” “Propaganda, agitation;” “Political motive, Jews made scapegoat to divert attention from defects of Nazism.”

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