The LA Jewish Journal Iran Poll, July 2015 - Iran Nuclear Deal Survey of Jews and Non-Jews

Sponsor(s): Los Angeles Jewish Journal

Principal Investigator(s): Steven M. Cohen

Study Dates: July 16-20, 2015

Key Findings:

The LA Jewish Journal poll in July 2015 measured and compared the reactions of American Jews  and Americans generally to the agreement between the US, five other nations and Iran on nuclear control issues in Iran.  Data file and reports now available at the Databank.

The survey was commissioned by the LA Jewish Journal, directed by Professor Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, and conducted by SSRS. Professor Cohen's main report can be downloaded via the DataBank on the Overview page (click "More Details" below if on Home Page). Additional analysis was provided by Jewish Journal senior political editor Shmuel Rosner; see link to left on Overview page.

According to Jewish Journal Publisher and editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman,the goal of the study was to " ...provide a precise, thorough portrait of American-Jewish and national opinion at a time of intense concern and debate. Our hope is that the numbers and analyses presented below will provide a better understanding of how this crucial sector views the controversial deal between the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Iran."

Among Professor Cohen’s main assessments of the survey are the following:

"By a wide margin, American Jews support the recently concluded agreement with Iran to restrict its nuclear program, and a clear majority of Jews wants Congress to approve the deal. In fact, as compared with Americans generally, Jews are more supportive of the 'Iran deal,' in large part because Jews are more liberal and more Democratic in their identities. It turns out that liberals (Jewish or not) support the deal far more than conservatives (Jewish or not), just as most Democrats are in favor, while most Republicans are opposed."

* "The LA Jewish Journal Survey asked respondents’ views on 'an agreement … reached in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons.' Almost half – 49 percent of American Jews – voiced support, and 31 percent opposed. Jews differ from the national population. Of all respondents in our national survey, only 28 percent support the deal, 24 percent oppose and the rest (48 percent) 'don’t know enough to say.'"

* "Similarly, asked whether Congress should vote to approve or oppose the deal, Jews lean heavily toward approval, 53 percent for versus 35 percent against. These margins contrast with the near-even split among the nation generally (41 percent for versus 38 percent against, with 21 percent undecided)."

"As a group, Jews hold these supportive views of the agreement, notwithstanding their mixed views regarding its outcomes. Asked whether 'this agreement would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons over the next 10 years or so,' only 42 percent are somewhat confident or very confident, while 54 percent are not so confident or not confident at all. A slim plurality believes the agreement will lead to more rather than less stability in the Middle East (46 percent versus 41 percent), but a wider margin believes the deal will make Israel more endangered (49 percent) rather than safer (33 percent), almost the same as in the U.S. survey (48 percent versus 32 percent respectively)...."

"Opinions among Jews and the country generally are sharply divided along ideological and partisan lines, with even sharper polarization among Jews than among non-Jews."

* "Among Jewish liberals (self-defined), those favoring congressional approval outnumber opponents 72 percent to 18 percent. For conservative Jews, the numbers are reversed: 8 percent for approval and 81 percent opposed. Similarly, Jewish Democrats divide 70 percent-20 percent in favor of congressional approval, while the Republicans divide 77 percent-15 percent in opposition...."

"Approval of the Iran deal rises with increased confidence in its effectiveness, greater belief in its ability to promote more stability in the Middle East, and wider conviction that it makes Israel safer rather than more endangered."

"The bottom line: American Jews, more than Americans generally, tend to support the Iran deal and they want Congress to approve it. Their support certainly co-exists with considerable hesitations and qualifications. Their views on the Iran deal are highly differentiated by political camp. On one side are liberals, Democrats and Obama admirers; on the other, conservatives, Republicans and Netanyahu admirers. Even the most pro-Israel support the deal, albeit far more narrowly than those who are less passionately connected with Israel."

Cohen concludes: "The true and deeper divide in American Jewry is not about the Iran deal per se. This issue is merely the latest place to witness the ongoing and maybe growing divide between the liberal and conservative wings of American Jewry.  As with many views and behaviors related to Israel and being Jewish, American Jews’ political identities serve as a major basis for social differentiation. Which is a fancy way of saying: Liberals and conservatives — especially Jewish liberals and conservatives — see and experience the world, including Iran, very differently."


Two samples were constructed.  One sample contains 501 American Jews, who for the most part had been previously contacted by SSRS during their weekly Omnibus surveys and were recontacted for this survey. The second sample was comprised 522 American adults randomly selected by SSRS. In the second sample, 505 adults were not Jewish and 17 were Jewish. The margin of error is 6 percent for the Jewish survey and 5.2 percent for the national survey.

Dr.  David Dutwin, Executive Vice-President and Chief Methodologist for SSRS, supervised the study for the research interviewing firm and provided all weighting of data files as well as error estimates.


Sample Size: N=501 for sample of American Jews; N=522 for sample of Americans generally.

Sample Notes:

SSRS conducted the interviewing, constructed the basic data files and weighted the samples. In addition to base weights applied to both samples, the Jewish sample was further weighted to targets from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 A Portrait of Jewish Americans report.

SSRS’s methodology report, available for download to the right, provides details on the study, design, selection of respondents, interviewing procedures, and weighting techniques used for both the Jewish and national samples The DataBank strongly recommends researchers review the methodology report.

Study Notes:

Data Files

There are two data files for this comparative analysis of American Jews and the general American public.   All files and syntax have been zipped for convenience.

(1) The first data file is of Jewish respondents only; N=501.  For weighted analysis, the correct weight to apply is Popwght (variable 3 on the file). An SPSS SAV and an SPSS POR file are both available, as is the syntax for variable creation.

Data file users should note that Popwght adjusts the data but does not provide population estimates; it maintains N=501, the same as the unweighted N.

(2) The second data file is a nationally representative sample of American adults, post-stratified and weighted to national parameters. For weighted analysis, the correct weight to apply is Popwght (variable 3 on the file).   Again, SPSS SAVand POR files and SPSS syntax are available. Data file users should note that Popwght adjusts the data but does not provide population estimates; it maintains N=522, the same as the unweighted N.

Excel files

Two Excel files with weighted variable frequencies, one for the Jewish sample and one for the general sample, are also available to be downloaded

They provide a summary of the data and can be used by data file users to check that the weight variables (PopWght on both files) have been correctly applied.



Language: English