Politics, Government & Current Affairs

New polling of British Jews highlights tensions between Labour and the Jewish Community

New Survation polling of British Jews on behalf of the Jewish Chronicle suggests that the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn in particular, has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of the UK Jewish community.


The poll, conducted using Survation’s panel of the GB Jewish population found that 86% of British Jews polled believe that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic compared to 8% who said he is not and 6% who did not know. The same proportion of respondents believed that there were high levels of anti-Semitism among the Labour Party’s members and elected representatives (4 and 5 on a 1-5 scale where 1 meant low-levels and 5 high-levels).


This represents an increase from May 2017 when Survation asked a similar question (which did not include a ‘don’t know’ option); a year ago, 69% believed that there were high levels of anti-Semitism among the Labour Party’s members and elected representatives.


Survation also recently asked a nationally representative sample of the general British public the same two questions. Amongst the general population 39% believed Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic, 28% that he was not and 33% said they didn’t know. 59% of 2017 Conservative voters, 21% of Labour voters and 62% of Liberal Democrat voters believed that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic.


43% of all UK respondents said there were high levels of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. This included 63% of Conservative voters, 28% of Labour voters and 64% of Liberal Democrat voters.



Survation also asked both Jewish respondents and the general population the same questions regarding anti-Semitism about the other two main parties and UKIP.


Amongst Jewish respondents only 6% said there were high levels in the Conservative Party and 11% said the same about the Liberal Democrats. However, 46% said there were high levels in UKIP. Regarding the party leaders only 2% said Theresa May was anti-Semitic, 6% said the same for Vince Cable and 16% believed Gerard Batten was anti-Semitic. However, a substantial proportion of respondents said they did not know if the leaders of the Lib Dems or UKIP were anti-Semitic; 39% said they did not know for Vince Cable and 68% said the same for Gerard Batten.





Other Political Parties 

Amongst the general population, 19% said there were high levels of anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party, 13% in the Liberal Democrats and 35% in UKIP. Only 12% said Theresa May was anti-Semitic, 10% for Vince Cable and 13% for Gerard Batten. The majority for the last two leaders said ‘don’t know’ (52% and 69%)


The poll of the Jewish Community was conducted over parliamentary recess, during which time the debate about the Labour Party’s decision to adopt a modified version of the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism dominated much of the political news agenda. The national representative poll of GB adults was conducted over two days during this period.* Both sets of fieldwork were completed before Labour’s NEC voted to adopt the definition last week.


Previous research


The Jewish community’s concerns about Jeremy Corbyn cannot be characterised simply as a reaction to past allegations that have come to light over the summer.


During Corbyn’s first leadership bid in August 2015, Survation conducted a poll of 1,011 members of our Jewish panel on behalf of the Jewish Chronicle and found that at that time 67% of British Jews polled said that they were concerned about Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour Party, including 61% of those who had voted Labour in 2015.


In the same polling from 2015, 44% told Survation that “when they heard a politician describe themselves as “anti-Zionist” they “always thought” they meant “anti-Jewish”.  A further 27% of those polled said that they “often thought” that when politicians described themselves as “anti-Zionist” this meant that they were “anti-Jewish”.



Survation polled 710 residents aged 18+ in  GB who identify as Jewish. This survey was generally conducted via telephone; however additional respondents were invited to take part in the survey online. Fieldwork was between 12th August and 4th September 2018.

Tables and methodology can be found here.

*Survation polled 1017 residents aged 18+ in the UK online. Fieldwork was between 31st August and 1st September 2018.

Tables and methodology can be found here.


For more information about Survation’s Jewish Panel please read.


Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. BPC Statement: All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. 




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