Jewish Oppose War More Than Any Other Religious Group

Jeffrey Jones looks at Gallup polls over the last two years and finds that “among the major religious groups in the United States, Jewish Americans are the most strongly opposed to the Iraq war. Catholics and Protestants are more or less divided in their views on the war, while Mormons are the most likely to favor it.”

My first reaction to that headline, and likely yours as well, is that “religious affiliation” is just a proxy for ideology or party leaning. After all, Mormons are overwhelmingly Republican and rural while Jews are mostly Democrat and urban. Jones has covered that base:

But a closer analysis of the data show that Jewish war opposition goes beyond their basic political leanings. Jewish people are more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews of the same political persuasion. For example, 89% of Jewish Democrats oppose the Iraq war, compared with 78% of all non-Jewish Democrats.

The departures are even greater when looking at non-Democrats. Sixty-five percent of non-Democratic Jews oppose the war, compared with just 38% of non-Democrats of all other religious groups. Despite the limited sample size of non-Democratic Jews, the size of the difference is so large that it is still statistically significant.

It would be interesting to control for variables other than religion and party ID. For example, education, income, region, and military connectivity (whether they or family members have served, say) might explain a lot of the difference.

Further, “Jewish” is both a religious denomination and a cultural-ethnic group. One can be both “Jewish” and an atheist; that’s not the case for, say, Baptists. It’s not clear whether these data reflect only religious Jews. Obviously, comparing atheists to the religiously devout any attributing differences to religious affiliation is problematic.

UPDATE: Matt Yglesias jokes, “The rest are on Joe Lieberman’s staff and will probably be switching parties soon.”

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Public Opinion Polls, Religion, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. carpeicthus says:

    But, but, people who are against the war hate Jews! My National Review-informed world is crumbling around me!

  2. legion says:

    Indeed, can Jews be anti-semitic? ‘Cause I was told by my good buddies at the PNAC that people who call neocons “neocons” are anti-semitic. Oops.

  3. Rick DeMent says:

    It would be interesting to control for variables other than religion and party ID.

    Shorter JJ, when polls go against my own opinions we must look deeper for the reason. 🙂

    Cheap shot? Sure but really how many of us look at a poll that confirms our own biases with a critical eye? It’s the pols that go against us that were start to look for the statistical inconsistencies. Fact is that the longer the war drags on the more people will start to think we should cut our losses and take our chances.

    The only thing interesting about “controlling for other variable” is to slice out a demographic that agrees with you James. Sure we might well find out that 87% of all left handed Jews in the Bani Brith of upper Sandusky Ohio support the war, so what?

    Look we all know that polls are of limited value due the games you can play with the questions, the sample size and so on, but really, is is so difficult to believe that a majority of Jews no longer support the war when an overwhelming majority of the population at large no longer support it? You are starting to sound like the small % of people at were against the war when it first started who were making excuses for the polls that showed that most people supported it.

  4. James Joyner says:

    It’s the pols that go against us that were start to look for the statistical inconsistencies.

    That’s not what I’m doing here. I have no doubt that the public has turned against the war effort nor do I have any trouble understanding why. And I would have predicted, absent this poll, that Jews would be more likely to be opposed than most.

    My interest here is why, apart from their Democratic Party/liberal leanings, are Jews even more strongly opposed to the war than others. I’m just trying to figure how much of it has to do with “Jewishness” vice other variables.

  5. It would be interesting to see where Muslims rank in support for the war on terror. The obvious expectation is that they’d be overwhelmingly opposed, but maybe that isn’t the case. Anyway, it would be interesting to see.

  6. LJD says:

    I’m loving all this peace and understanding from the left…

    Hypocrites. The more you think you’re right on the affairs of the world, the nastier you get.

    Peace my ass.

  7. PS says:

    Interesting title to this posting.

    Jewish Oppose War More Than Any Other Religious Group

    Is war a religious group, and if so are you trying to provoke? 🙂

  8. TheHat says:

    I’ve always wondered how that works, that Jews are against war and that Jews are 90% Liberal. So what happens when Iran attacks Israel? Are the Jews going to go to their Liberal friends and ask for help? What was it the Breck Girl, (John Edwards), said about world security? Oh yes, that Israel was the biggest problem that was. Not a nuclear Iran. Not a nuclear North Korea, (thank you Mr Peanut Farmer). Not Syria. No. Israel is the biggest problem in the world. That’s the Liberal position. Muslims = No Problem. Jews = Big Problem.

    So, Mr Jew, as a Consecrative, I say to you “I am tired of your rhetoric and your support for Liberals. I’m tired of your anti-war attitude. When Iran attacks Israel, don’t come to me for help.” Go to your Liberal surrender monkey friends. It’s time you got what you have asked for. Peace.

  9. Shorter RD, when polls agree with my own opinions we must not examine their assumptions. 🙁

    Clearly, some opinions are more equal than others. Are you going to now presume to lecture us that there is no further need for scientists to be able to replicate any experimental result you agree with?

  10. Rick DeMent says:

    My interest here is why, apart from their Democratic Party/liberal leanings, are Jews even more strongly opposed to the war than others.

    Well you would have to look for characteristics that, as a group are different for Jews as a group from the general population. Are not Jews typically better educated then the population as a whole? 🙂

  11. James Joyner says:

    Well you would have to look for characteristics that, as a group are different for Jews as a group from the general population. Are not Jews typically better educated then the population as a whole? 🙂

    Yep. That’s why I suggested “education, income, region, and military connectivity” as possible additional variables.

  12. ken says:

    “I’ve always wondered how that works, that Jews are against war and that Jews are 90% Liberal. So what happens when Iran attacks Israel? Are the Jews going to go to their Liberal friends and ask for help?”

    Help for what? I assume you are talking about Jewish Americans? What do they need help with? I thought you said it was Israel that was hypothetically attacked. What would some Americans who happen to be Jewish need help with in that case?

  13. Billy says:

    So, Mr Jew, as a Consecrative, I say to you “I am tired of your rhetoric and your support for Liberals. I’m tired of your anti-war attitude. When Iran attacks Israel, don’t come to me for help.” Go to your Liberal surrender monkey friends. It’s time you got what you have asked for. Peace.

    What’s a consecrative? Someone who believes in consecration? Or a secret conservative?

    My favorite part here is that you end this screed with “Peace.” Well, aside from the fact that you conclusively demonstrate that you don’t have the foggiest idea what you’re talking about…

  14. Kathy says:

    Further, “Jewish” is both a religious denomination and a cultural-ethnic group. One can be both “Jewish” and an atheist; that’s not the case for, say, Baptists. It’s not clear whether these data reflect only religious Jews. Obviously, comparing atheists to the religiously devout any attributing differences to religious affiliation is problematic.

    Your first two sentences are correct, but the terms “religious,” “atheist,” and “devout” have different meanings for Jews than for Baptists, or almost any other religion. Being a “traditional,” or “observant” Jew is NOT necessarily the same as being “religious” or “devout” in the sense of believing in the existence of God. A “good Jew” in the traditional sense means a Jew who observes Shabbat and kashrut, goes to synagogue, etc. When Jewish people refer to themselves or others as being “observant” or “traditional” or “good” Jews, that is what they mean.

    It is entirely possible to be an atheist and devoutly observant, if you are Jewish — and I know a number of Jewish people who are.

    If you were trying to control for religious feeling among Jews, then, you would have to separate out these factors.

  15. Andy says:

    Eh, Jews are smart, on average.. No surprises here.

  16. Kathy says:

    LOL Andy.

  17. RJN says:

    Ken:

    American Jews and Israel are joined at the hip.

  18. MSS says:

    Kathy and Andy both have it right.