Contrary to the purported findings of a new and much-reported opinion poll, 18 percent of Americans do not think President Barack Obama is Jewish, The Times of Israel established.
The Associated Press/GfK poll statistic, absurdly indicating that more Americans believe Obama is Jewish (18%) than Muslim (10%), is inaccurate and the consequence of a simple typographical error, AP quickly ascertained and confirmed, after The Times of Israel called to point out the mistake. AP immediately moved to correct the error in its survey data.
The self-evidently ridiculous finding, which was nonetheless widely reported by the Jewish Chronicle, Israel National News, Haaretz and numerous minor websites on Sunday and Monday, is a consequence of a missing zero in the tabulated results of the survey, as the most cursory glance at the polling data immediately shows.
The finding, which never made it into an AP news story, comes from an Associated Press Racial Attitudes Survey, conducted by pollsters GfK, and released earlier this week. It surveyed 1,071 adults between August 30 and September 11.
The table pictured below shows the original published data, in which those surveyed were asked if they knew Obama’s religion. The right-hand column, a quick look reveals, has plainly been incorrectly recorded. Not only does it purport to show that almost one in five Americans — 18% — thinks Obama is Jewish, but it also would indicate that more than a third of all Americans — 35% — think he has “no religion.” The same quick glance also shows drastic discrepancies between the purported 2012 findings and those in answer to the same question asked in 2010.
Rather than 18%, the actual figure for Americans who think Obama is Jewish is 0%, AP confirmed. But that zero was erroneously omitted, skewing all the figures from that line in the column on down. Thus, the correct figure for Americans who think Obama is Muslim is 18%, not 10% as erroneously tabulated; 10% think he has “some other religion”; 2% think he has no religion; 35% don’t know, and 2% refused to answer.
Corrected, the figures in the column add up to 100%. In their mistakenly presented original form, the figures add up to 128% — which might have given reporters who published the incorrect information a further hint that something major was awry. Once the adjustment is made, in the corrected data published (below) after The Times of Israel had pointed out the error, the 2012 findings prove to be very similar to the findings in the correctly entered left-hand column for 2010.
Asked for the raw data, AP said that only two of the 1,071 people surveyed answered “Jewish” for Obama’s religion.
The findings in answer to the same question for Republican challenger Mitt Romney were correctly recorded: Asked Romney’s religion, 67% accurately answered Mormon, 26% didn’t know, 2% said Protestant, 2% Catholic, 1% some other religion, while 2% refused to answer.