Wharton/Hebrew U. Statisticians Refute Methodology of Poll Claiming Jews Support Iran Deal
August 11, 2015

We reviewed the L.A. Jewish Journal poll and determined that its conclusion that most American Jews support the Iran nuclear deal is not valid. The question asked was, “As you may know, an agreement was 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. Do you support or oppose this agreement, or don’t know enough to say?”


The preamble clearly suggests an answer and characterizes the deal in a positive way. Had the preamble characterized it differently, namely “an agreement was reached in which the U.S. and other countries would lift major sanctions providing Iran, the world’s largest supporter of terrorism, hundreds of billions of dollars that may well be used to fund and arm with missiles Hamas and Hezbollah, in exchange for Iran being given a pathway to nuclear weapons in 10-15 years,” the result may well have been the opposite. An appropriate formulation of the question would have had no preamble whatsoever. A preamble of any sort is the classic definition of a “push poll” to get the outcome the pollster wants.


A preamble of any sort is the classic definition of a “push poll” to get the outcome the pollster wants.

Another more subtle but critical issue is the biased sampling scheme. According to its own publication, the poll calls for sampling at random from a database of households with at least one adult respondent who is Jewish. This means that a Jew in the database married to a non-Jew has double the chance of being polled as a Jew married to a Jew. Because Jews married to Jews have more concern about Israel than intermarried Jews, studies show, the results of the poll are heavily weighted toward the views of Jews who are intermarried and are therefore unrepresentative of the Jewish population as a whole.


This poll is politically biased and therefore the results are rendered inaccurate. Presenting results of such a poll as representative of American Jewry  has a scent of deception.

Abba M. Krieger, Robert Steinberg professor of statistics, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Moshe Pollak, Marcy Bogen professor of statistics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


This letter was published in LA Jewish Journal and may be found here.

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