Democrats more likely than Republicans to see antisemitism as serious issue — poll

Just over half of survey respondents say antisemitism ‘represents a growing threat to Jewish Americans,’ weeks after Kanye West went on tirade against Jews, then dined with Trump

Then-US president Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 11, 2018. (SEBASTIAN SMITH / AFP)
Then-US president Donald Trump meets with rapper Kanye West in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 11, 2018. (SEBASTIAN SMITH / AFP)

JTA — A national survey in the US has found that Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to agree that prejudice against Jews is a serious problem and that antisemitism in the country poses a growing threat to the Jewish community.

The divide between Republicans and Democrats in the Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday tracks with previous polling — but it also comes after weeks of antisemitic invective from the rapper and designer Kanye West, who now identifies as a Christian conservative and who has courted Republicans.

It also comes after former US president Donald Trump, a Republican, dined with West, who is now known as Ye, and Nick Fuentes, a prominent Holocaust denier, and after multiple government and nonprofit groups have reported spikes in reported attacks on Jews.

The survey released Wednesday showed 83 percent of Democrats identifying prejudice against Jews as a very serious or somewhat serious problem. Just 44% of Republicans agreed with those assessments. Overall, a substantive majority, 60%, agreed that prejudice against Jews is a serious problem.

A similar divide characterized a question about whether antisemitism “represents a growing threat to Jewish Americans,” with 73% of Democrats saying that it does, as opposed to 34% of Republicans. Overall, 51% of respondents said it represented a growing threat.

Quinnipiac University, based in Hamden, Connecticut, has been asking versions of questions about prejudice against Jews since 2017, when it started tracking assessments of prejudice against a number of minority groups in the wake of the election of Trump, who during his campaign and presidency made bigoted statements.

Illustrative: A hand-drawn swastika is seen on the front of Union Station near the Capitol in Washington, DC, January 28, 2022. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In August 2019, after a year of deadly attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, 48% of Republicans classified anti-Jewish prejudice as a serious problem, while 78% of Democrats did.

In 2017, the pollsters asked the question twice, once in February just after Trump assumed office and then a month later after a series of bomb threats against Jewish institutions, and a vandal destroyed headstones in a St. Louis Jewish cemetery. Trump made headlines when he shouted down reporters who asked about the perceived rise in antisemitism. The overall number of respondents classifying prejudice against Jews as serious rose from 49% to 70% in that period.

In the March 9, 2017, survey, after the bomb threats and the vandalism, and Trump’s press conference, 53% of Republicans said prejudice against Jews was a serious problem and 87% of Democrats did.

The new survey marks the first time Quinnipiac has asked respondents whether antisemitism “represents a growing threat to Jewish Americans.” It was also the first of the surveys to use the word “antisemitism.”

The survey reached of 1,614 US adults, including 1,456 registered voters, by phone between December 8-12. It has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

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