2012 Jewish Values Survey: Chosen for What?

Sponsor(s): Nathan Cummings Foundation, Public Religion Research Institute

Principal Investigator(s): Robert P. Jones, Daniel Cox

Study Dates: February 23, 2012 - March 5, 2012

Key Findings:

The 2012 Jewish Values Survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) for the Nathan Cummings Foundation, “set out to understand distinctive Jewish values, culture, and experiences, and their connections to Jewish political beliefs and behavior.”  The study found that American Jews are characterized by strong consensus on many deeply held values, but simultaneously divided on other values and particular issues along denominational, political, generational and educational lines.

The survey data are based on an online survey using Knowledge Networks’ KnowledgePanel. Jewish members of the panel were identified through a question on religion and, for those with no religion, a question on whether they consider themselves Jewish for any reason. 

Major findings of the survey are presented in the main report entitled Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012: Findings from the 2012 Jewish Values Survey. The report includes an executive summary; detailed sections examining a broad range of current social, political and value-based issues, as well as Jewish behaviors and beliefs; methodological information; and comparisons of Jews to Americans generally and other religious groups.  A slide set, survey frequencies and publicity material are also available. 

The survey’s specific results include the following:

"More than eight-in-ten American Jews say that pursuing justice (84%) and caring for the widow and the orphan (80%) are somewhat or very important values that inform their political beliefs and activities."

"More than seven-in-ten say that tikkun olam (72%) and welcoming the stranger (72%) are important values."

"A majority (55%) say that seeing every person as made in the image of God is an important influence on their political beliefs and activities."

"Strong majorities of American Jews also cite the experience of the Holocaust, having opportunities for economic success in America, and the immigrant experience as important in shaping their political beliefs and activities."

"When asked which qualities are most important to their Jewish identity, nearly half (46%) of American Jews cite a commitment to social equality, twice as many as cite support for Israel (20%) or religious observance (17%)."

"About one-in-ten volunteered that a sense of cultural heritage and tradition (6%) or a general set of values (3%) are most important to their Jewish identity."

"The new survey finds President Barack Obama with the same level of support (62%) among American Jewish voters as during a comparable point in the 2008 race."

"Three-in-ten Jewish voters say they prefer a Republican candidate over the incumbent president. Of those who supported Obama in 2008, an overwhelming majority say they would like to see him re-elected (86%), while 7% of Jewish voters who supported him in 2008 say they instead would support a Republican candidate in 2012."

"Jewish voters who supported John McCain in 2008 demonstrate similar loyalty in their voting preferences, with 92% reporting that they would prefer it if a Republican candidate won the election."

Sample:

Survey respondents were selected randomly from members of the Knowledge Network's Knowledge Panel.

Details on the Knowledge Panel are summarized in the "Survey Methodology" section of the "Frequencies: Topline Questionnaire" (pages 23-26 of Frequency summary]

The Jewish Values Survey utilized two screening questions:

Q1 - "What is your religion," and

Q2 - "Do you consider yourself to be Jewish for any reason?"

Jews-by-religion [JBR] survey respondents represented 86% of the sample, while the remaining 14% of the sample [JNR - Jewish No religion] said that they considered themselves Jewish or partially Jewish in response to Q2, but did not identify Judaism as their religion in Q1, nor did they identify with "another major religious tradition" in Q1 response.

For analysis, and for weighting, a "just Jewish" category was created by combining all JNR respondents with the 30% of the JBR sample who did not identify with a Jewish religious denomination - and then comparing them with the Jewish-by-religion respondents who identified with a Jewish denominational movement.

 

Sample Size: 1,004 self-identified Jewish respondents to Internet Survey

Sample Notes:

The Jewish Values Survey utilized two screening questions:

S1 - "What is your religion," and

S2 - "Do you consider yourself to be Jewish for any reason?"

Jews-by-religion [JBR] survey respondents represented 86% of the sample, while the remaining 14% of the sample [JNR - Jewish No religion] said that they considered themselves Jewish or partially Jewish in response to Q2, but did not identify Judaism as their religion in Q1, nor did they identify with "another major religious tradition" in Q1 response.

For analysis, and for weighting, a "just Jewish" category was created by combining all JNR respondents with the 30% of the JBR sample who did not identify with a Jewish religious denomination - and then comparing them with the Jewish-by-religion respondents who identified with a Jewish denominational movement.

S1 Religion shows that 853 of the respondents identified with Judaism as a religion, while another 8 provided a different non-Christian religion and 143 reported "no religion."  S2 was asked of only those who did not select Judaism as heir religion: of the 151 respondents asked this question, 71 identified as Jewish and another 80 as half-Jewish or partially Jewish.  Researchers who want to create a typology of Jewish connections should also review "denom" where most, but not all, of the S2=Jewish or partially Jewish self-identified as non-denominational Jews ("Just Jewish").

Study Notes:

The data were weighted first by Knowledge Networks and then by PRRI to more closely reflect Jewish denominational and demographic patterns found in the General Social Survey (GSS; National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago), U.S. Religious Landscape Survey (RLS, Pew Research Center) and the National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01 (NJPS, United Jewish Communities).

The report’s methodology sections (Appendices 1 and 2)  provides detailed descriptions of post-stratification and weighting procedures as well as tables comparing unweighted and weighted PRRI data to the GSS, RLS and NJPS on many study variables.

***

The data file is now available, thanks to the PRRI team, primarily Robby Jones and Dan Cox.

The unweighted N is 1,004, and the weighted N after post-stratification, etc. is also 1,004. Data should be used weighted by "weight," the last variable in the data file.

The DataBank Public zipped file contains an SPSS SAV file and an SPSS Portable file created by the DataBank.  The SPSS files include all of the substantive questions asked in the 2012 survey, and reflected in the questionnaire/frequency distribution results created by PRRI.

A significant number of variables that show the impact (mostly non-impact) of the randomization of question choices have been deleted from this file with the permission of PRRI.  For users interested in exploring the impact of randomization of choices/topics on survey answers, the DataBank has a “Methodological” file” available (please email and request) with these "order" variables, as well as start time and finish time variables.

Users  might also want to visit the website of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research where the data are also stored, and the “order effect” variables included.  The Roper Center will allow non-registered users to download the frequency distributions and data file definitions for the Roper data set -  under "Download Documentation" (see Link on left also).

 

 

 

 

Language: English


Downloads

Survey Reports

» Jewish Values 2012: Chosen for What - Main Report
(PDF, 15.82 Mb)

Slide Sets

» Jewish Values 2012 - Slide Set - Chosen for What
(PDF)

Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Jewish Values 2012 - Frequencies, Questions, Brief Methodology
(PDF)

Data Files and Data Definitions

» Data Files_JewishValues_2012
(ZIP)

Publicity Material

» Jewish Values 2012 - News Release
(PDF)

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