1984 National Survey of American Jews: Political and Social Outlook

Sponsor(s): American Jewish Committee (AJC)

Principal Investigator(s): Steven M. Cohen

Study Dates: April-August, 1984

Key Findings:

The 1984 National Survey of American Jews, the fourth in an annual series, surveyed 996 Jews nationwide in April-August 1984. The study's purpose was to discern Jews' attitudes on major public issues and to understand how certain social and demographic characteristics influence political thinking..

Among the major findings ...

♦ Self-defined liberals outnumber conservatives by more than 3 to 2, but middle-of-the-road Jews are about as numerous as the liberals. Thus, many more Jews than other Americans are liberal, and far fewer call themselves conservative.

♦ Jewish Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 4 to 1, but the Democratic proportion has been shrinking (at least since 1981) in favor of Independents. Moreover, a slight majority now say they would have preferred a Reagan to a Carter victory in 1980.

♦ The sense of being a minority group figures prominently in American Jews' political thinking. Most believe American anti-Semitism continues to threaten them. They see conservative groups as more anti-Semitic than liberal groups, and they see other ethnic
groups (especially blacks) as more anti-Semitic.

♦ A number of key social and political issues were explored in detail in the study.

"On most issues, the more liberal are those who are less involved in Jewish life (although not wholly uninvolved), have a post-graduate degree, read cultural or intellectual periodicals, and, to a lesser extent, are female. In most instances, income per se is unrelated to political views, although among the better-educated, the very affluent are somewhat more conservative."


AB Data Corporation of  Milwaukee selected a national sample of DJNs (distinctive Jewish names) from their lists of over 37,000 family names associated with Jewish respondents.

Initial sample of 2,471 addresses included 634 non-deliverable notices to potential respondents; of the remaining 1,767 mailed questionnaires (with a series of reminders, etc.), 56% were returned.

The 996 returned questionnaires included 37 unusable questionnaires, so the final sample N used for analysis was 959.

Sample Size: 959

Sample Notes:

Sample data compared in Appendix I to 1983 survey data (also DJN-based, mail questionnaires) and the 1981 New York Jewish Population Survey (40% DJN and 60% RDD).

Tables 14, 15, 16 summarize these results.

Study Notes:

Questionnaire and frequency responses on pages 52-60

Language: English