Jewish Americans say it is important for candidates to recognize holidays they do not celebrate

Linley SandersData Journalist
September 15, 2020, 7:43 PM UTC

Friday marks Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the High Holy days for Jews and the Jewish New Year.  

Jewish Americans may be expecting President Donald Trump, who is Presbyterian, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is Catholic, to recognize the holiday this week. A YouGov snap poll indicates that most Jewish Americans (56%) think it is “very important” that presidential candidates acknowledge religious holidays that they do not personally celebrate, and an additional one-third (32%) say it is somewhat important. 

Only about one-third of Americans overall (33%) say it is very important to recognize holidays of other religions. A similar number of Roman Catholics (36%) and Protestant Americans (32%) say it is very important. Two in five Democrats (42%) say it is very important for candidates to do this, while only a quarter (24%) of Republicans say that it is. Three in 10 Independents call it very important. 

Though America has never had a Jewish president, most sitting presidents and prominent politicians including Trump and Biden have acknowledged Rosh Hashana and other key holidays celebrated by non-Christian religions.

The YouGov poll also revealed that just one in 11 Americans (9%) say they know a lot about Rosh Hashana, and about two in five (39%) know a little about the Jewish holiday. Most Jews (86%) say they know a lot about the holiday and 14 percent say they know a little about it.

Related: What Americans think about the 2020 presidential debate moderators 

Methodology: This article is based on a flash poll of 2,521 Americans surveyed via YouGov Direct between September 12, 2020 at 6 p.m. and September 13, 2020 at 6:24 p.m. This YouGov Direct Poll was weighted according to age, gender, race, education, and 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±2.9% for the overall sample. 

Image: Getty