American Jewish Committee Survey of American Jewish Opinion


WAR ON TERRORISM AND IRAQ

Do you approve or disapprove of the way President George W. Bush is handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism?

  2003 2002
Approve 41 59
Disapprove 54 37
Not sure 5 5

Do you think that Americans will or will not have to give up some of their personal freedoms in order to make the country safe from terrorist attacks?

  2002
Will 78
Will not 20
Not sure 2

Here are some increased powers of investigation that law enforcement agencies might use when dealing with people suspected of terrorist activity, which would also affect our civil liberties. For each, please say if you would favor or oppose it.

  2002 2002 2002
  Favor Oppose Not sure
Expanded undercover activities to penetrate groups under suspicious 86 12 2
Adoption of a national I.D. system for all U.S. citizens 67 30 3
Expanded camera surveillance on streets and in public places 65 33 3
Profiling of people and searching them based on their nationality, race, or religion 35 62 2

Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try and remove Saddam Hussein from power? (2002)
Do you approve or disapprove of the war with Iraq (2003)

  2003 2002
Approve 43 59
Disapprove 54 36
Not sure 3 5

If the United States takes military action against Iraq, do you think the threat of terrorism against the United States will increase, decrease, or stay about the same? (2002)
Do you think the threat of terrorism against the United States has increased, decreased, or stayed about the same as a result of the war with Iraq? (2003)

  2003 2002
Increase 42 62
Decrease 9 6
Stay about the same 48 32
Not sure 1 1

In your opinion, do you think that a war between the United States and Iraq is likely to lead to a larger war between other countries in the Middle East?

  2002
Yes, likely 56
No, not likely 41
Not sure 3

ISRAEL

How close do you feel to Israel?

  2003 2002 2000
Very close 31 29 28
Fairly close 43 44 46
Fairly distant 18 20 18
Very distant 8 6 7
Not sure 1 1 1

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew?

  2003 2002 2000 1999 1998 1997
Agree 76 73 80      
Disagree 22 26 18      
Not sure 2 1 2      

Have you ever been to Israel?

  2002 2000 1999 1998 1997
No 63 58      
Yes -- once 20 23      
Yes -- more than once 17 20      

Looking ahead 3 to 5 years, do you see Jews in Israel and in the United States becoming closer, drifting apart, or neither?

  2003 2002 2000 1999 1998 1997
Becoming closer 36 38 32      
Drifting apart 9 8 12      
Neither 53 53 50      
Not sure 2 2 6      

How would you characterize relations between Israel and the United States today? Are they very positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative, or very negative?

  2003 2002 2000 1999 1998 1997
Very positive 15 21 20 15 14 23
Somewhat positive 71 69 70 70 70 67
Somewhat negative 13 9 7 14 14 9
Very negative 1 1 0 1 1 0
Not sure 1 1 2 1 1 0

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Israel no longer needs the financial support of American Jews."

  2000
Agree 10
Disagree 87
Not sure 2

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Regardless of their individual views on the peace negotiations with the Arabs, American Jews should support the policies of the duly elected government of Israel."

  2003 2002 2000
Agree 63 61 62
Disagree 34 36 32
Not sure 4 4 7

To what extent do each of the following Arab leaders support or oppose peace with Israel?

 
Strongly support (2002)

Strongly Support (2000)

Somewhat support (2002)
Somewhat Support (2000)
Somewhat oppose (2002)
Somewhat Oppose (2000)
Strongly oppose (2002)
Strongly Oppose (2000)
Not sure (2002)
Not Sure (2000)
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt 8 19 50 48 24 12 8 6 10 15
President Bashar Assad of Syria 1 2 13 17 32 28 39 28 15 25
King Abdullah of Jordan 12 17 46 44 22 13 9 8 11 19
PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat 1 7 7 33 20 25 70 28 3 8

Overall, do you support or oppose the Israeli government's handling of the peace negotiations with the Arabs?

  2003+ 2000 1998* 1997* 1996 1995 1994 1993
Support 60 59 66 61 79 68 77 84
Oppose 32 24 27 24 13 15 10 9
Not sure 8 17 7 15 8 17 14 8

*The question in 1997 began by first noting the election of Netanyahu, then inserting his name in place of the word "Israeli." In 1998, "Netanyahu was used instead of "Israeli."
+The question in 2003 asked about negotiations with "the Palestinian Authority" and not "the Arabs."

As part of a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to dismantle all, some or none of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank?

  2003 2002 1999 1998 1995 1994*
Yes/All 12 10 5 5 5 37
Some 57 55 53 52 52  
No/None 29 34 40 40 39 52
Not sure 2 2 2 3 5 8

*The question in 1994 combined the West Bank with Gaza and asked for a yes/no answer. "Yes" replies compare to the sum of "All" and "Some" replies in the other surveys.

How much land should Israel be willing to give up on the Golan Heights in order to reach a peace agreement with Syria?

  1999 1998 1995 1994 1993
All of it 2 2 2 3 2
Most of it 4 3 3 4 5
Some of it 23 23 26 27 29
Only a small part of it 32 26 28 27 30
None of it 37 42 33 32 27
Not sure 2 3 7 7 6

Given the current situation, do you favor or oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state?

  2003 2002 1999 1998 1995 1994 1993
Favor 54 49 44 42 46 53 57
Oppose 41 47 47 49 39 34 30
Not sure 5 5 9 9 15 13 13

In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem as a united city under Israeli jurisdiction?

  2003 2002 2000 1999 1998 1995 1994 1993
Yes 42 41 36 42 33 33 32 30
No 54 55 57 55 61 62 60 62
Not sure 4 4 7 4 5 5 8 8

(If yes, to previous question) In the framework of a permanent peace with the Palestinians, should Israel be willing to relinquish sovereignty of the Old City of Jerusalem?

  2000
Yes 17
No 76
Not sure 7

If the Palestinian Authority (PLO) unilaterally declares statehood, what response by Israel would you most favor?

  2000
Israel should accept the declaration of statehood 24
Israel should break off negotiations with the Palestinians 28
Israel should annex the remainder of the West Bank 17
Other 18
Not sure 13

Tension between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel is becoming sharper. In your view, who is principally responsible for this increase in tension?

  2000
Secular israelis 7
Ultra-Orthodox Israelis 72
Both equally 12
Not sure 9

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "The goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel."

  2003 2002 2000 1999 1998 1995 1994 1993
Agree 81 82 69 66 68 56 51 42
Disagree 16 15 23 27 24 37 41 50
Not sure 3 4 8 7 7 7 8 9

Is the Palestinian Authority (PLO) doing enough or not doing enough to control terrorist activity against Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian extremist groups?

  2002 1999 1998 1996 1995
Is doing enough 1 6 3 9 5
Is not doing enough 98 91 94 82 91
Not sure 1 4 3 9 4

How concerned are you that the United States will pressure Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in order to keep the Arab countries in the anti-terrorist coalition? Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, or not concerned at all? (2002)

Very concerned 35
Somewhat concerned 47
Not concerned at all 18
Not sure 0

As compared with one year ago, are you now more optimistic about the chance for a lasting peace between Israel and the Arabs, less optimistic, or do you think the chance for a lasting peace is about the same as it was one year ago?

  2003 2002
More optimistic now 5 2
Less optimistic now 37 49
Same as one year ago 58 49
Not sure 0 0

Do you support or oppose the Israeli government's current handling of relations with Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority?

  2003 2002
Support 60 67
Oppose 32 29
Not sure 8 5

WORLD AFFAIRS AND TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS (2003)

How desirable is it that the United States exerts strong leadership in world affairs? Is it very desirable, somewhat desirable, somewhat undesirable, or very undesirable?

Very desirable 43
Somewhat desirable 44
Somewhat undesirable 8
Very undesirable 3
Not sure 1

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "When dealing with common problems, the United States and Europe should be more willing to make decisions jointly, even if this means that the United States, as well as Europe, will sometimes have to go along with a policy that is not its first choice."

Agree 75
Disagree 22
Not sure 3

In general, in responding to international crises, do you think the United States should or should not act alone, if it does not have the support of its allies?

Should act alone 37
Should not act alone 60
Not sure 3

Do you believe that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon reflect the true teachings of Islam?

Yes 19
No 76
Not sure 5

 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION & NATIONAL AFFAIRS


In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent?

  2003 2002
Republican 16 18
Democrat 51 48
Independent 31 32
Not sure 1 2

I'm going to read you a list of political views that people might hold. They are arranged from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. Where would you place yourself on this scale?

  2003 2002
Extremely liberal 4 4
Liberal 19 19
Slightly liberal 17 14
Moderate, middle of the road 33 34
Slightly conservative 13 15
Conservative 12 12
Extremely conservative 2 2
Not sure 1 2

In the 2000 presidential election, did you vote for Al Gore, the Democrat, or for George W. Bush, the Republican?

  2003
Al Gore 66
George W. Bush 24
Other 3
Did not vote 3
Not sure 4

Suppose the next general election for president were being held today and you had to choose between George W. Bush, the Republican, and [ ], the Democrat - - for whom would you vote? (2003)

George W. Bush 29
Wesley Clark 59
Not sure 12

 

George W. Bush 31
Howard Dean 60
Not sure 9

 

George W. Bush 31
John Kerry 59
Not sure 10

 

George W. Bush 31
Richard Gephardt 60
Not sure 9

 

George W. Bush 24
Joseph Lieberman 71
Not sure 6

 

In the elections for the House of Representative held on November 5, 2002, did you vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

  2002
Republican 22
Democratic 61
Other candidate (vol.) 2
Did not vote (vol.) 8
Not sure 7

Do you think the number of immigrants from foreign countries who are permitted to come to the United States to live should be increased a lot, increased a little, left the same as it is now, decreased a little, or decreased a lot?

  2003 2002
Increased a lot 4 3
Increased a little 11 9
Left the same as it is now 43 43
Decreased a little 21 21
Decreased a lot 20 22
Not sure 2 2

Which do you think is better for the United States - to encourage immigrants to blend into American culture by giving up some important aspects of their own culture, or to encourage immigrants to maintain their own culture more strongly, even if that means they do not blend in as well?

  2002
Blend in 61
Maintain own culture 31
Both 4
Not sure 4

Do you think that the government should or should not provide taxpayer funds for social service programs run by religious institutions, such as churches or synagogues?

  2003 2002
Should 25 24
Should not 73 73
Not sure 2 3

Do you favor or oppose government aid to parochial or other religious schools?

  2003 2002
Favor 25 22
Oppose 73 76
Not sure 2 2

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional and cannot be recited in schools because the phrase 'under God' violates the separation of church and state. Do you think the phrase 'under God' should or should not be part of the Pledge of Allegiance? (2003)

Should 66
Should not 31
Not sure 3

 

In your opinion, how important is it that the United States achieve energy independence? Is it very important, somewhat important, or not important at all?

  2003 2002
Very important 73 71
Somewhat important 24 27
Not important 2 2
Don't Know/Not Application 1 1

What is the best way for the United States to handle its energy needs--by encouraging greater energy production, by encouraging greater energy conservation, or both equally?

  2002
Greater energy production 6
Greater energy conservation 18
Both equally 75
Don't Know/No Answer 1

International Jewish Issues (2002)

D. INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ISSUES

I would like your opinion of some countries today. Is your overall opinion of (INSERT COUNTRY) very favorable, somewhat favorable, neutral, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable? (2002)

I would like you to rate your feelings toward some countries, institutions and people, with one hundred meaning a very warm, favorable feeling, zero meaning a very cold, unfavorable feeling, and fifty meaning not particularly warm or cold. You can use any number from zero to one hundred. How would you rate your feelings toward [ ]. (2003)

    Mean Score (2003) Very favorable (2002) Some what favorable (2002) Neutral (2002) Somewhat unfavorable (2002) Very unfavorable (2002) Not sure (2002)
a. Iran 27 1 2 11 30 56 0
b. Australia   50 29 19 1 1 1
c. Saudi Arabia 29 0 7 18 37 37 1
d. Germany 45 5 28 39 19 9 1
e. Jordan 43 4 27 32 27 10 1
f. Egypt 45 2 23 35 29 10 1
g. Great Britain 77 57 29 11 2 1 0
h. Pakistan   1 10 27 37 24 1
i. Russia 51 3 31 46 17 3 1
j. France 33 8 22 27 27 15 1
k. The Vatican 51 6 18 42 22 11 2
l. Syria 24 1 4 18 32 44 1
m. Turkey 52 6 28 43 18 4 2
n. India 55 4 25 47 20 3 1
o. China 44 1 19 39 29 10 1
p. Bulgaria   2 10 68 10 3 8
q. The European Union 54 -- -- -- -- -- --
h. Poland 56 -- -- -- -- -- --
i. The Palestinians (Palestinian Authority) 21 -- -- -- -- -- --
j. Italy 62            
k. Spain 62            
i. South Africa 53            

I would like you to rate how various foreign governments feel toward Israel, with one hundred meaning a very warm, favorable feeling, zero meaning a very cold, unfavorable feeling, and fifty meaning not particularly warm or cold. You can use any number from zero to one hundred. How would you rate the government of [ ] in terms of feelings toward Israel? (2003)

a United States 76
b Saudi Arabia 22
c Germany 41
d Jordan 33
e Egypt 35
f Great Britain 65
g Poland 49
h Iran 16
i France 30
j Syria 16
k Turkey 45
l India 47
m The Vatican 49
n Italy 54
o Spain 53
p Russia 45
q South Africa 48
r China 42

 

Is your opinion of the United Nations very favorable, somewhat favorable, neutral, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable?

  2002
Very favorable 9
Somewhat favorable 34
Neutral 22
Somewhat unfavorable 24
Very unfavorable 11
Not sure 0

Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with the following statement: "Germany today is making a sincere effort to deal with the legacy of the Holocaust."

  2002
Agree strongly 13
Agree somewhat 50
Disagree somewhat 24
Disagree strongly 10
Not sure 2

 

JEWISH IDENTITY

How important would you say being Jewish is in your own life?

  2003 2002
Very important 54 50
Fairly important 34 38
Not very important 12 12

Which one of the following qualities do you consider most important to your Jewish identity?

  2003 2002
Being part of the Jewish people 41 41
Religious observance 16 13
Support for Israel 6 5
A committment to social justice 19 21
Something else 17 18
Not sure 2 2

Do you belong to a synagogue or temple?

  2003 2002
Yes 50 51
No 50 49

Do you think of yourself as . . .

  2003 2002
Orthodox 8 7
Conservative 33 31
Reconstructionist 2 2
Reform 30 30
Just Jewish 28 30

In your opinion, which is a greater threat to Jewish life in the United States today--intermarriage or anti-Semitism?

  2003 2002
Intermarriage 27 31
Anti-Semitism 68 66
Both equally (Vol.) 3 2
Not sure 2 2

Anti-Semitism

Do you think that anti-Semitism in the United States is currently a very serious problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem at all?

  2003 2002
Very serious problem 37 29
Somewhat of a problem 60 66
Not a problem at all 3 5
Not sure 0 0

Do you think that anti-Semitism on American college campuses is currently a very serious problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem at all?

  2003 2002
Very serious problem 28 23
Somewhat of a problem 54 57
Not a problem at all 11 12
Not sure 8 7

Looking ahead over the next several years, do you think that anti-Semitism in the United States will increase greatly, increase somewhat, remain the same, decrease somewhat, or decrease greatly?

  2003 2002
Increase greatly 10 9
Increase somewhat 39 35
Remain the same 42 46
Decrease somewhat 7 8
Decrease greatly 1 1
Not sure 1 2

In your opinion, what proportion of each of the following groups in the United States is anti-Semitic? most, many, some, very few, or none?

  Most (2003) Most (2002) Many (2003) Many (2002) Some (2003) Some (2002) Very few (2003) Very few (2002) None (2003) None (2002) Not sure (2003) Not sure (2002)
Asians 2 2 3 2 41 34 39 46 9 10 6 7
Muslims 28 31 27 26 33 33 8 6 1 1 3 3
Hispanics 3 3 6 4 51 49 29 34 6 5 5 6
Blacks 6 6 15 14 55 56 18 17 4 3 3 4
The Religious Right 20 19 21 20 37 37 14 16 3 3 6 6
Catholics 5 4 9 9 59 57 21 25 3 3 3 4
Mainstream Protestants 4 3 8 8 57 54 24 28 3 3 4 5

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Virtually all positions of influence in the United States are open to Jews."

  2002
Agree 56
Disagree 44
Not sure 0

Do you think that anti-Semitism in Europe is currently a very serious problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem at all?

  2003 2002
Very serious problem 55 41
Somewhat of a problem 41 53
Not a problem at all 2 3
Not sure 2 3

Do you think that anti-Semitism in the Muslim world is currently a very serious problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem at all?

  2003 2002
Very serious problem 77 75
Somewhat of a problem 20 22
Not a problem at all 2 2
Not sure 1 2

Do you think that anti-Semitism at the United Nations is currently a very serious problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem at all?

  2002
Very serious problem 29
Somewhat of problem 55
Not a problem at all 13
Not sure 4

Looking ahead over the next several years, do you think that anti-Semitism around the world will increase greatly, increase somewhat, remain the same, decrease somewhat, or decrease greatly?

  2003 2002
Increase greatly 20 13
Increase somewhat 47 42
Remain the same 26 38
Decrease somewhat 4 5
Decrease greatly 1 1
Not sure 2 2

Source: American Jewish Committee