Jewish Overrepresentaiton Among Influential Liberals and Conservatives

It is often contended that Jews are over-represented among influential leftists. This post tests this claim by aggregating names from several lists of influential liberals and estimating the proportion of people on these lists who are Jewish. I do the same for lists of influential conservatives and find that Jews are over-represented among the elites on both sides of the political spectrum but that this over-representation is much stronger on the left than on the right.

Method and Sample

To find lists of influential conservatives and liberals, I entered the search terms “top influential conservatives” and “top influential liberals” into google. I took each list done on American politics which appeared in the first 10 pages of results. Naturally, such lists have an element of subjectivity to them. However, there is no reason to think they would be biased with respect to their representation of Jews. Given this, they can be taken as reasonable estimates of the frequency of Jews among influential political figures.

For conservatives, the lists used were as follows: John Hawkin’s 25 most influential people on the right, 2013 and 2014 editions, the Independent Journals “25 Most Loved and Hated Conservatives in America“, Anthea Mitchell’s “10 Most Influential Voices in the Republican Party Today“, The Daily Beast’s “The Right’s Top 25 Journalists”, and the Telegraph’s “The Most Influential U.S. Conservatives“. Together, these lists provided 133 unique names.

For liberals, the lists used were as follows: The Daily Beast’s “The Left’s Top 25 Journalists“, Forbe’s “The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S.”, and the Telegraph’s “The Most Influential U.S. Liberals“. Together, these lists provided 134 unique names.

To determine whether or not someone is Jewish I used Wikipedia. A person was counted as Jewish if their Wikipedia entry made any mention of them having Jewish ancestry. Wikipedia is a less than perfect source. However, formal tests of its accuracy suggest that it is nearly as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Wikipedia will fail to mention that some Jews are Jewish. Therefore, these estimates are probably somewhat lower than the real numbers. However, there is no good reason to think that Wikipedia would be more likely to identify the Jewish ancestry of liberals or conservatives. Because of this, a comparison of Jewish over-representation among Liberals and Conservatives should be valid. People whose names appeared in one of the lists but who did not have a Wikipedia page were excluded from the data set.

Results

Jews were found to account for 8.3% of Influential Conservatives and 29.3% of influential Liberals. Given that Jews account for around 2% of the total U.S. population, this implies that Jews are roughly 4 times more likely than non Jews to be an influential conservative and roughly 15 times more likely than non-Jews to be an influential liberal. Thus, Jews were roughly 3 times more likely to be an influential liberal than an influential conservative. The difference between these proportions was significant at a 1% significance level.

I know of a few similar analyses to this one done by others. First, The Audacious Epigone analyzed the Telegraph’s 2007 lists of the 100 most influential U.S. liberals/conservatives and found that  24% of influential liberals were Jewish compared to 23% of influential conservatives. Second, the author of the blog “Race/Evolution/History Notes” analyzed two lists of America’s most influential communists and found that 9 out of 28, or 32%, were Jewish. He also analyzed Forbes’s 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. list, a list which was included in my analysis, and found that 14, or 56%, were Jewish.

Both estimates of Jewish representation among influential liberals are similar to my own. However, The Audacious Epigone’s estimate of Jewish representation among influential conservatives is much higher than mine. It is possible that Jewish influence on the right has fallen since 2007. Given the stereotypical Jewish character of the neo con movement, and the influence that neo cons had during the Bush administration, this is not implausible. It is also possible that our differing results are a rest of variation in how we determine who is and is not Jewish. My impression is the The Audacious Epigone goolges around looking for as much information on each person as he can find. I chose to use a more standardized approach both because white nationalists might make a leftist’s jewish ancestry easier to discover on google and because any biases I have may have influenced how much time and effort I spent on each person.

 Liberals:

Name Jewish Status
Jon Favreau Yes
Colin Powell No
Max Baucus No
James Carville No
Robert Bauer No
John Paul Stevens No
Donna Brazile No
George J. Mitchell No
Rod Blagojevich No
Bernie Sanders Yes
Kal Penn No
Daniel Pfeiffer No
Keith Olbermann No
Arne Duncan No
Jim Webb No
Steven Chu No
Mary Landrieu No
Jim Clyburn No
Pete Rouse No
Howard Dean No
David Plouffe Yes
Maureen Dowd No
Desirée Rogers No
Todd Stern No
Stephen Colbert No
Lawrence Summers Yes
Markos Moulitsas No
Joan Blades No
Warren Buffett No
Artur Davis No
Arlen Specter Yes
Joe Solmonese No
Kathleen Sebelius No
Ben Rhodes Yes
Keith Ellison No
Alan Grayson Yes
Melody Barnes No
Al Franken Yes
Peter R. Orszag Yes
Joe Biden No
John O. Brennan No
Ben Bernanke Yes
Thomas E. Donilon No
Michael Bloomberg Yes
Susan Rice No
James L. Jones No
Dick Durbin No
George Clooney No
Jon Stewart Yes
Steny Hoyer No
Paul Krugman Yes
Chuck Schumer Yes
Henry Waxman Yes
Michèle Flournoy no
John Podesta No
Richard Holbrooke Yes
Andy Stern Yes
Leon Panetta No
Valerie Jarrett Yes
Barak Obama No
Hilary Clinton No
Nancy Pelosi No
Bill Clinton No
Rahm Emanuel Yes
Al Gore No
Oprah Winfrey No
Tim Geithner No
David Axelrod Yes
Harry Reid No
Michell Obama No
Ariana Huffington No
Sonia Sotomayor No
Denis McDonough No
Janet Napolitano No
Mark Warner No
Robert Gibbs No
Barney Frank Yes
John Kerry Yes
Eric Holder No
John Edwards No
Wanda Skyes No
Stan Greenberg No
Jesse Jackson No
Jimmy Carter No
Roberty Bryd No
Karl Eikenberry No
Lee Hamilton No
Chris Matthews No
Michael Moore No
Harold Ford No
Anthony Romero No
Joe Trippi No
Christina Romer No
George Soros Yes
Dennis Ross Yes
Eliot Spitzer Yes
Evan Bayh No
Annise Parker No
Ben Nelson No
Michael Pollan Yes
Kurt Andersen No
Kevin Drum No
Ezra Klein Yes
James Fallows No
Andrew Sullivan No
Glenn Greenwald Yes
Hendrick Hertzberg Yes
Matthew Yglesias Yes
Maureen Dowd No
Christopher Hitchens Yes
Bill Moyers No
Fareed Zakaria No
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga No
David Shipley No
Joshua Marshall No
Racheal Maddow Yes
Thomas Friedman Yes
Fred Hiatt No
Jessica Valenti No
David Rieff Yes
Eric Alterman Yes
Deberah Solomon Yes
Adam Moss No
Katrina Heuvel Yes
Christiane Amanpour No
Jane Hamsher No
Franklin Foer Yes
Thomas Hartmann No
Steve Coll No
Johnathan Chait Yes
David Leonhardt No
Frank Rich Yes
Markos Moulitsas No

Conservatives:

Name Jewish Status
Michell Malkin No
Newt Gingrich No
Greg Gutfeld No
Jim DeMint No
Matt Kibbe No
Scott Walker No
Charles Krauthammer Yes
Mitch McConnell No
Brent Bozell No
Rick Perry No
Rand Paul No
Wayne LaPierre No
Mark Levin Yes
John McCain No
Glenn Beck No
Ted Cruz No
Koch Brothers No
John Roberts No
Sean Hannity No
John Boehner No
Karl Rove No
Sarah Palin No
Matt Druge Yes
Grover Norquist No
Rush Limbaugh No
Paul Ryan No
James O’Keefe No
Laura Ingraham No
Dick Cheney No
Mitt Romney No
Tim Phillips No
Tom J. Donohue No
Thomas Sowell No
Clarence Thomas No
Mia Love No
Antonin Scalia No
Mark Steyn Yes
Condoleezza Rice No
Bobby Jindal No
Megyn Kelly No
Glenn Reynolds No
 Jonah Goldberg Yes
Allen West No
Ben Carson No
Tim Scott No
George Bush No
Trey Gowdy No
Darrell Issa No
Dana Loesch No
Robert Gates No
Roger Ailes No
David Petraeus No
Tim Pawlenty No
Haley Barbour No
Eric Cantor Yes
Mike Pence No
Bob McDonnell No
Mike Huckabee No
Andrew Breitbart Yes
David Brooks Yes
Joe Lieberman Yes
David Frum Yes
Michael Steele No
Edwin Feulner No
John Bolton No
Tom Coburn No
Rich Lowry No
Mitch Daniels No
John Thune No
Ron Paul No
George Will No
Dick Morris No
Micheal Savage Yes
Mary Matalin No
Richard Lugar No
Carly Fiorina No
David Keene No
Kevin McCarthy No
Morton Blackwell No
Arnold Schwarzenegger No
Alex Castellanos No
Steve Schmidt No
William Kristol Yes
Rudy Giuliani No
Jon Voight No
Michele Bachmann No
Lou Dobbs No
Meg Whitman No
Joe Wilson No
Jeb Bush No
James Dobson No
Ann Coulter No
Judd Gregg No
Tucker Carlson No
Dick Armey No
Michael Barone No
Olympia Snowe No
Paul Gigot No
Joe Scarborough No
Victor Davis Hanson No
Erick Erickson No
Christopher Ruddy No
Frank Luntz No
Jeff Flake No
Mark Sanford No
Tom DeLay No
Michael P. Murphy No
Marc Thiessen No
Emmett Tyrrell No
Liz Cheney No
Jon Huntsman, Jr. No
Charlie Crist No
Peggy Noonan No
Tony Perkins No
Fred Thompson No
Patrick Ruffini No
John Kasich No
Bill O’Reilly No
Lindsey Graham No
Jack Keane No
Marco Rubio No
James Taranto No
Neil Cavuto No
Caroline Baum N0
Nick Gillespie No
Joseph Rago No
Glenn Reynolds No
Marc Morano No
Mary O’Grady No
Caitlin Flanagan No
Edwin Feulner No
Jon Kyl No
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3 thoughts on “Jewish Overrepresentaiton Among Influential Liberals and Conservatives

  1. Pingback: The Jewish Question: an Empirical Examiniation | Ideas and Data

  2. Pingback: The Jewish Question: an Empirical Examiniation | Locust blog

  3. Pingback: The Jewish Question: An Empirical Examination – Radical Capitalist

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