ADL Sees Slight Decline In U.S. Anti-Semitism


Twelve percent of Americans harbor deeply anti-Semitic attitudes, according to a poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League timed for release at the centennial meeting of its national commission in Manhattan this week.

The figure marks a decline of 3 percentage points from the last time the ADL took such a poll, in 2011, but approximately the same number as in an ADL poll in 2009. The latest ADL national telephone survey, of 1,200 adults, was conducted this month and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. A summary of the results was released Thursday, and the full survey will be released next week.

In the latest survey, 14 percent of respondents agreed that Jews have too much power in the United States; 30 percent said American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States; and 19 percent said Jews have too much power in the business world – all figures virtually unchanged from the 2011 survey.

But the number who believe the Pro-Israel lobby has “the most influence on American government policy” shrank from 7 percent in 2011 to 4 percent, the same as the 2007 figure. Twenty-eight percent said the oil lobby has the most influence, followed by 24 percent for Big Pharma while 22 percent said the National Rifle Association calls the shots in Washington.

The percentage of respondents who believe that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus was 26 percent, down from 31 percent in 2011. Eighteen percent said Jews have too much influence over the news media.

While U.S. Hispanics born elsewhere are far more likely to hold anti-Semitic views than Americans of Hispanic heritage, 36 to 14 percent, those numbers dropped from 42 and 20 percent, respectively, in 2011.

Among African Americans, there was also a sharp decline, from 29 to 22 percent between the two surveys.

The number of people who said they believe Jews talk too much about the Holocaust has remained roughly unchanged, however. About 25 percent of the general population of respondents agreed with this statement in 2007, 2011 and this year. But among a select group of “6+ indexers,” people identified as being most anti-Semitic based on six key questons, that number has hovered around the two-thirds mark, or 66 percent this year.

John Marttila of Marttila Strategies in Washington, who conducted the poll for the ADL insisted, in response to a question from a conference partcipant, that the drop percentage is statistically significant, despite being close to the margin of error.

“It’s a meaningful drop,” he said, because most of the decline comes from African Americans and Hispanics, and the index of participants was oversampled with 281 African Americans and 199 Hispanics to ensure a total of 400 respondents of each group. “We believe it is calibrated so carefully over the years that it beats the margin of error,” Marttila told The Jewish Week.

He noted, in response to another question, that random probability made it likely that about 2.5 percent of survey respondents are actually Jewish.

Marttila said his pollsters made a concerted effort to reach a significant number of people via cell phones, recognizing that younger Americans are increasingly eschewing land lines. About 40 percent of participants were reached via mobile.

In what he said was good news for Israel, Marttila said a growing number of Americans are “skeptical about Iran” and the intention of its nuclear program.

A 1964 ADL survey on the topic found 29 percent of American held anti-Semitic views.

“In another 50 years we’ll have it down to zero,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said at the conference.

JTA contributed to this report.