Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Poll: 94% of Jews in George Santos’ district want him to resign

Santos lied to Jewish voters during the campaign about his grandparents fleeing the Holocaust and being a ‘proud American Jew’

An overwhelming majority of Jewish voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District – 94% – think their freshman Republican representative, George Santos, should resign from Congress over a web of lies about his background, according to a new poll published Tuesday.  

Jews made up 13% of the 653 registered voters in the poll conducted by Siena College for Newsday between Jan. 23 and 26 via landline and cellphone. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. 

Santos has come under fire for lying about having Jewish grandparents who fled persecution during World War II and calling himself a “proud American Jew” during the campaign. He reportedly posted offensive remarks about the Holocaust and made jokes about Jewish stereotypes before he ran for Congress.

He has rebuffed calls to resign, claiming he’s beholden to the 142,000 people who elected him.

In an interview with an NBC reporter on Saturday, Santos repeated the debunked claim that he has “Jewish ancestry” but he refused to engage with the media about the revelations that his maternal grandparents were both born in Brazil before the Nazis came to power and that his mother was a practicing Catholic. 

Only 9% of Jewish respondents said they voted for Santos in November. His Democratic rival, Robert Zimmerman, who is Jewish, received 72% of the Jewish vote.

Nonetheless, 63% who said they voted for Santos on the Republican and Conservative lines regret their choice. According to the poll, 87% of Jewish voters do not think Santos can be an effective representative for the people of the district, and 81% say it was wrong for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to have seated Santos on two lower-level House committees.

On Tuesday, Santos indicated to his colleagues that he will be recusing himself from committees in wake of his legal and ethics investigations. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia, a close ally, told CNN that Santos made the decision on his own. She also said he didn’t want to be a distraction from the Republican effort to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee for her past antisemitic tweets and criticism of Israel.

“He just felt like there was so much drama really over the situation, and especially what we’re doing to work to remove Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee,” she told CNN.

She added: “But Mr. Santos’ statement in there was just saying that he spoke with Speaker McCarthy and made this decision on his own.”

Santos gave a speech on the House floor on Friday marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On that same day, a number of descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors published an open letter to McCarthy urging him to respect the memory of those that perished in the Holocaust by forcing Santos out of office. 

“To falsely claim to be a descendant of Holocaust survivors makes him both a traitor to the sacred memory of those we lost in the Holocaust and a traitor to the truth,” Linda F. Burghardt, a scholar-in-residence at the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County, New York,  and a resident of Great Neck, wrote in the letter.

Earlier this month, Jewish Republican elected officials in Nassau County called on Santos to submit his immediate resignation. 

Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County’s first Jewish executive, called Santos a “stain on the House of Representatives” who deceived a large population in his district “who identify themselves legitimately as being Jewish” with his lie about his grandparents.

This post has been updated to include the latest development about Santos stepping down from his committee assignments.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

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.