(JTA) – Seventy percent of American voters see anti-Semitism in the United States as a “very” or “somewhat serious” problem, up from 49 per cent a month ago, according to a new poll.
The responses differed by party identification, with an overwhelming majority of Democrats, 87 per cent, seeing anti-Semitism as a “very” or “somewhat serious” problem, and slightly more than half of Republicans, 53 per cent, seeing it as such, according to the poll released Thursday.
The survey was conducted by Quinnipiac University at the beginning of March.
Jewish institutions, including community centers and Anti-Defamation League offices, have been hit with more than 100 bomb threats so far this year, all of them hoaxes. In the past three weeks, Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Rochester, New York.
Respondents were split on U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the bomb threats and vandalism, with 37 per cent approving and 38 per cent disapproving. Most Republicans, 71 per cent, approved of Trump’s response, while most Democrats, 66 per cent, disapproved.
The poll also found that 63 per cent of American voters think hatred and prejudice has increased since Trump’s election, while two per cent say it has decreased and 32 per cent say it has stayed the same.
Trump has come under fire for his delayed response to the incidents. Concerning the threats on Jewish establishments, Trump at first deflected questions – and in one instance shouted down a reporter who asked him about it – before calling them “horrible.”
Last month, the president noted the bomb threats and vandalism of cemeteries in his first address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
“Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms,” Trump said.
The Kansas City incident occurred after a patron ejected from a bar after hurling racial epithets at two workers from India allegedly returned with a gun and killed one of the men and wounded another.