Americans View Ground Zero As No Place For Mosque;
Many Hold Resentment Toward Muslims
By Seth Brohinsky and Mark Schulman, Abt SRBI
The building of a Muslim community center and Mosque near Ground Zero has become a hot button issue in Washington as the political rhetoric continues to escalate. A new Time Poll finds a clear majority (61%) of Americans opposed to the idea.
The issue has gained major national traction. Most Americans (68%) are following this issue very (32%) or somewhat closely (36%).
Lingering Resentment Towards Muslims
Nearly nine years after the 9.11 attacks, a large segment of Americans remain critical of American Muslims. One in four (25%) believe that Muslims in the U.S. are not patriotic Americans, with another 21% not sure.
These reservations are evident in Americans views on the proposed Mosque near Ground Zero. Nearly two times as many Americans believe the building of the Mosque near the World Trade Center site would be an insult to those who died on 9.11 (44%) than believe the Mosque would serve as a symbol of religious tolerance (23%).
A majority of both Republicans (68%) and Independents (49%) see the Mosque proposal as an insult, compared to just one quarter (25%) of Democrats.
When asked, a majority of Americans would support the building of any community center and place of worship near their home, regardless of the religious affiliation. However, among a Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, or Muslim center, the Muslim proposal garners the greatest opposition (34%).
Catholic center: 78% support / 14% oppose
Jewish center: 73% support / 18% oppose
Mormon center: 65% support / 24% oppose
Muslim center: 55% support / 34% oppose
Islam and US Politics
The skepticism of Muslims runs beyond community centers and places of worship. More than one quarter (28%) of Americans believe the Supreme Court should prohibit a Muslim member. In addition, nearly one-third (32%) do not believe that a Muslim should be allowed to run for the Presidency. Again, there are large divisions along party lines:
Nearly half (48%) of Republicans do not believe a Muslim should be allowed to run for the Presidency.
However, nearly seven in ten Democrats (69%) and Independents (67%) have no issue with a Muslim President.
A large segment of the U.S. population (24%) continues to believe President Obama is a Muslim, an issue Mr. Obama has had to deal with since first entering the Presidential race. Nearly a majority (46%) of Republicans and one third of self identified Evangelicals (33%) subscribe to the belief that President Obama is a Muslim. However, just 11% of Democrats and 17% of Independents agree with this belief.
Rough Time for Obama, Democrats
With mid-term elections just months away, there are many warning signs for Obama and Congressional Democrats. President Obama's approval rating (currently 46%) is down 10 points from July of last year (56%) and three points from last month (49%). With a clear majority of Americans saying the US is heading in the wrong direction (57%), President Obama and Congressional Democrats are facing a tough battle in the mid-term elections.
When likely voters were asked if they would support a Democratic candidate in their district or Republican candidate, Republicans hold an advantage by 6 points (43% to 37%). This is a shift of seven points since last month. Republicans seem poised to pick up Congressional seats come November.
Abt SRBI Public Affairs designed the survey and conducted all interviewing.
This Time Magazine poll was conducted by telephone August 16 - 17, 2010 among a national random sample of 1,002 Americans, ages 18 and older, throughout America The poll includes limited interviews with cell phone respondents.
The margin of error for the entire sample is approximately +/- 3 percentage points. The margin of error is higher for subgroups. Surveys are subject to other error sources as well, including sampling coverage error, recording error, and respondent error.