Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

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

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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.