1 in 5 Americans Say Small Businesses Should be Allowed to Refuse Service to Jews 

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Nineteen percent of Americans think small businesses should be allowed to refuse service to Jews if serving them would violate their owners religious beliefs, a new poll shows.

Edited by: JV Staff

According to survey results published Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute, the proportion of Americans who say small businesses should be able to refuse to serve Jews on religious grounds is up seven percentage points (19% in 2019 vs. 12% in 2014). Republicans (24%) are more likely than independents (16%) and Democrats (17%) to say small businesses should be allowed to refuse service to Jews. Support is up from 2014, when only 16% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats supported this sort of service refusal.

Men are also more likely than women to say small business owners should be allowed to refuse service to Jews (22% vs. 16%). Support for all of these refusals is up for both men and women, with only around one in ten each for men and women endorsing these types of religiously based service refusals in 2014. Though there are no substantial differences by age in support for religiously based service refusals that target Jews, support has increased across all age groups since 2014.

Support for these religiously based service refusals has also increased among most major religious groups since 2014. Support for denying service to Jews has roughly doubled among white evangelical Protestants (up to 24% from 12% in 2014), white mainline Protestants (up to 26% from 11%), and Catholics (up to 20% from 10%), while the religiously unaffiliated (11% vs. 11%) and nonwhite Protestants (19% vs. 14%) have remained mostly stable in their attitudes on these issues.

There is also a distinct pattern across religious traditions.

White Protestants are the most likely to support religiously based service refusals in every case, with white evangelical Protestants and white mainline Protestants showing similar numbers in most cases. Both white evangelical Protestants (24%) and white mainline Protestants (26%) are more than twice as likely to support religiously based refusals to serve Jews than the religiously unaffiliated (11%).

The same is true of support for religiously based refusals to serve African Americans when comparing the white Protestant groups (22% each) to the religiously unaffiliated (11%). Catholics and nonwhite Protestants tend to be more aligned with the religiously unaffiliated than the white Protestant groups, with the exception of religiously based refusals to serve Jewish people, where Catholic support (20%) and nonwhite Protestant support (19%) are close to the white evangelical Protestant (24%) and white mainline Protestant (26%) numbers.

 

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