2013 AJC Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion

Sponsor(s): American Jewish Committee (AJC)

Key Findings:

The 2013 American Jewish Committee (AJC) Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, utilized an Internet survey to measure the opinions of Jewish Americans, as in 2012; during the preceding decades, telephone survey interviews were used.  A listing of previous AJC Surveys and other publications available via the DataBank or its partner, the Berman Jewish Policy Archive (BJPA), is available here.

The Press release (October 28, 2013) highlighted the major findings of the AJC-2013 poll.  A few major findings are listed below:

2016 Elections

On the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton is the candidate with the most positive sentiment, followed by Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Christie, Andrew Cuomo, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Among Democratic and Independent voters, Clinton is the preferred candidate and for Republicans it is Gov. Christie.

"Arab Spring" [Questions asked in Fall 2012]

The survey asked, for the first time, about the upheavals in the Arab world that began nearly three years ago.

Regarding the changes in several Middle Eastern countries, 56 percent are pessimistic, and 40 percent are optimistic.

Regarding the recent political developments in Egypt, 68 percent are pessimistic and 30 percent are optimistic.

On the civil war in Syria, 11 percent would like to see the government win, 24 percent favor the rebels, and 63 percent chose neither side.

Peace Process

While American Jews are distrustful of the long-term goals of the Arabs regarding Israel, half of the respondents favor the establishment of a Palestinian state.

50 percent favor and 47 percent oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state. In 2010, 48 percent favored and 45 percent opposed.

75 percent agree and 24 percent disagree with the statement: "The goal of the Arabs is not a peaceful two-state agreement with Israel, but rather the destruction of Israel."

68 percent say the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace have stayed the same since a year ago, while 12 percent say the prospects have increased and 19 percent decreased.


Iran Nuclear Threat

While an overwhelming majority of American Jews continue to be highly concerned about Iran's efforts to achieve nuclear-weapons capability, support for military action, whether by the U.S. especially, or by Israel, to prevent Iran from crossing that threshold has declined.

84 percent are concerned about the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. In September 2012, 91 percent were concerned.

46 percent say it is likely, and 52 percent say it is unlikely, that a combination of diplomacy and sanctions can stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In 2012, 36 percent said it is likely and 64 percent unlikely.

52 percent would support and 45 percent would oppose U.S. military action against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop the Iranian program. Last year, 64 percent supported and 35 percent opposed American military action.

67 percent would support and 30 percent would oppose Israeli military action if diplomacy and sanctions fail to stop the Iranian program. In 2012, 73 percent supported and 26 percent opposed Israeli military action.



As in previous AJC surveys, the state of Israel is a major factor in American Jewish identity. A majority, 70 percent, agrees and 30 percent disagrees with the statement "caring about Israel is very important part of being a Jew." For the first time, the AJC survey asked about the role of religion in the state of Israel, and found that most American Jews think that currently religion has too much influence. Forty-three percent favor separation of religion and state; 25 percent say religion should play less of a role; 23 percent say the current relationship of religion and state is best; and 6 percent say religion should play more of a role.

Separation between religion and state enjoys strong support across all denominations.

47 percent of Orthodox, 31 percent of Conservative, 41 percent of Reform, and 50 percent of Just Jewish think there should be separation of religion and state.

The view that the current relationship between religion and state is best is supported by 22 percent of Orthodox, 30 percent of Conservative, 21 percent of Reform, and 23 percent of Just Jewish

Religion should play more of a role is backed by 22 percent of Orthodox, 6 percent of Conservative, 6 percent of Reform, and 2 percent of Just Jewish

Religion should play less of a role is supported by 10 percent of Orthodox, 33 percent of Conservative, 29 percent of Reform, and 22 percent of Just Jewish


President Obama Performance

President Obama receives a rather high approval rating from American Jews on his handling of several key foreign policy and domestic policy issues:

On national security, 67 percent approve and 33 percent disapprove

On the economy, 58 percent approve and 42 percent disapprove

On U.S.-Israel relations, 59 percent approve and 39 percent disapprove

On the conflict in Syria, 59 percent approve and 40 percent disapprove

On immigration, 63 percent approve and 35 percent disapprove



American Jews remain highly concerned about anti-Semitism, especially in Europe and, above all, in the Arab world.

14 percent consider anti-Semitism in the U.S. a very serious problem, 67 percent somewhat of a problem, and 18 percent no problem at all.

38 percent consider anti-Semitism in Europe a very serious problem, 52 percent somewhat of a problem and 9 percent not a problem.

88 percent consider anti-Semitism in the Arab world a very serious problem,


1,034 Internet surveys completed by Jewish Americans -  respondents who identified their religion as Judaism or considered themselves to be Jewish "for any reason."

Unweighted N: 795 Jewish by religion, 97 consider self Jewish and 142 consider self partially Jewish. 


Sample Notes:

All officially reported data use the "weight" variable in the data file, which adjusts the data to parameters on denomination from the 2013 Pew Portrait of Jewish Americans and also reflects post-stratification efforts.  The weighted number of interviews (after post-stratification) is still 1034, but reflects a weighted 770 Jewish by religion, 87 consider self Jewish (no religion), 177 consider self partially Jewish (no religion). 

The last variable in the data file - "JewType"  -  was computed by the DataBank from the two questions used to determine Jewish status, and is the basis of the numbers cited above; for those interested in comparing the answers of Jews by religion and other Jewish respondents, this variable will allow for quick comparisons.

All data should be run with "weight" to match the reports, as well as the banners also made available by the American Jewish Committee and GfK Custom Research NA.

Please note that the DataBank also has changed the name of a few variables from the original GfK data file to "religion...," "consider...," and denomination to assist users.

Study Notes:

AJC survey in 2013 utilized Internet surveys completed by Jewish members of the KnowledgePanel of GfK NA Custom Research.

Of the 1,419  invitations to participate sent to members of the Knowledge Network who noted that they were Jewish by religion or considered themselves to be Jewish for any other reason, 1,034 respondents completed the online survey (73%).

Methodology, including basic information on the KnowledgePanel, is available in the "Methodology" report.  The results of the survey have a potential sampling error of +/- 5%.

Internet responses have been post-stratified, using the PEW 2013 Survey of Jewish Americans.  Thus, the denominational identification of 2013 respondents followed the PEW 2013 data: Orthodox 10%, Conservative 18%, Reform 35% and Just Jewish 33% - -  compared to the 2012 parameters of 8% Orthodox, 26% Conservative, 34% Reform and 26% Just Jewish (which were based on earlier estimates).

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