Pollsters asked Americans to name a Jew. The most common answer was Jesus. by the Forward

Pollsters asked Americans to name a Jew. The most common answer was Jesus.

Image by iStock

As part of a survey about how Americans think about religion, the Pew Research Center asked respondents last month to answer the question, “Who is the first person who comes to mind when you think of Judaism?”

The most common answer, according to Pew, was Jesus.

Some 21% of respondents named Jesus as the first Jew that came to mind. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus was born a Jew and lived in ancient Judea, though Jews do not accept his divinity as Christians do.

The next most commonly named people were also biblical: Moses, at 13%, followed by Abraham at 8%. Around 5% named non-famous Jewish individuals that they knew personally, while 7% named various historic figures or celebrities, including Anne Frank, Albert Einstein and Jerry Seinfeld.

The survey also asked people to name Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Evangelical Christians and atheists. Jesus was actually less frequently listed as a Catholic or evangelical than he was as a Jew. Only 12% of people picked Jesus when asked to name a Catholic (47% said the Pope), while 5% named Jesus when asked to pick an evangelical (the most frequently named person was Rev. Billy Graham).

The question, part of Pew’s American Trends Panel, had a sample size of 10,971 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5%.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at pink@forward.com or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

Author

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink

Aiden Pink is the Deputy News Editor for the Forward. Contact him at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink .

Pollsters asked Americans: Name a Jew. Many said Jesus.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Pollsters asked Americans to name a Jew. The most common answer was Jesus.

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close