Survey: 1 in 5 Americans Say Businesses Should Be Able to Refuse Service to Jews

Poll finds that 24 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of Democrats think small business owners should be allowed to refuse service to Jews based on religious grounds

Vigil held for victims of a shooting incident at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California, U.S. April 27, 2019.
John Gastaldo / Reuters

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

That is an increase from 2014, when 12 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, according to survey results published Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute.

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The survey found increased support for business owners to refuse service to a number of other groups as well, including gays and lesbians, transgender people, atheists, Muslims and African Americans.

The proportion of Americans who think small businesses should be able to refuse service to gays and lesbians was the highest among all the minority groups, at 30 percent. The other groups ranged from 15 percent for African Americans to 29 percent for transgender people.

A significantly higher proportion of Republicans approved of service refusals in all categories than Democrats did. Twenty four percent of Republicans thought small business owners should be allowed to refuse service to Jews based on religious grounds. That number was 17 percent for Democrats.

PRRI surveyed 1,100 adults via phone with a margin of error of approximately 3.5 percent.