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Half of U.S. Population Has Bias Against a Minority, with Jews As Chief Target

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Half the American people have a bias against some one of the minorities that make up the population, and more of this prejudice is directed against Jews than against any other minority, according to a Fortune Magazine Survey of Public Opinion appearing in the October issue, published today.

“Seventy-three percent of those who had any hostility to express along economic lines and 52 percent of those who had hostility to express along political lines picked on Jews,” the article points out, adding that the answers “confirm the thought that Jews evoke the greatest hostility in the areas where there are very few of them.” According to the poll, 36 percent of the population listed their resentment of Jewish economic power, while 12 percent answered that they thought Catholics “are getting more economic power … in the U.S. than is good for them.” Such resentment runs highest in the North Central states and far West, in communities of 2,500 or less and on farms away from the Northeast where the greatest concentration of Jewish wealth lies.

Again, people in the Northeast, in large cities, seem less disturbed than those in small communities and on farms about the extent of Jewish political power. Overall, 21 percent of the population feel that Jews have too much of a voice in the government. This figure is followed closely by the 15 percent–one-sixth of the population–who resent the role of the Catholics in American political life.

To a third question, “do you think any of these groups should be getting a better break in this country than they are getting now,” greatest concern was expressed for the Negro. Thirty-four percent said they thought the Negro people in America deserved better treatment, while another 10 percent thought Jews deserved a better break. “Concern about the Jews rises sharply with size of place (as does the number of Jews),” the article states.

Some 28 percent–approximately 22 million Americans–said they believed that certain racial and religious groups in this country “are treated very badly, and some strong measures should be taken to improve the situation.” Thirty-six percent said they believed that progress was being made “as fast as is practical,” and 25 percent said they thought minorities are “treated as well as they should be.” The 28 percent favoring strong action against prejudice “represents the main hope for the minorities,” the survey concludes.

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