New poll finds Americans evenly divided in views of Muslims

Americans are almost evenly divided in how they view Muslims, according to a survey released Thursday (Aug. 23) by the Arab American Institute in Washington.

But the online survey, which also gauged views on Mormons, Jews, Catholics, evangelicals, Buddhists and Hindus also found a striking generational gap and significant differences between political groups.

“The American Divide: How We View Arabs And Muslims,” found that 41 percent of Americans had unfavorable views of Muslims, compared to 40 percent who held favorable views.

That’s an improvement from 2010, when another Arab American Institute survey found that 55 percent of Americans viewed Muslims unfavorably, compared to 35 percent with favorable views. The latest poll surveyed 1,052 people between August 15-16.

Professor Jack Levin, co-director of the Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University, attributed the spike in anti-Muslim sentiment in 2010 to protests against a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero. “That effect has been fading over time,” Levin said.

The report, which had a margin of error of 3.1 percent, also found that 42 percent of Americans thought Muslims could do a good job in government, while 32 percent said they could not because their loyalty was suspect.

Nearly six in 10 Americans said they don’t know a Muslim compared to three in 10 who said they did, while the rest were unsure. People who knew Muslims were more likely to have favorable views of them.

Barack Obama Now Holds Historic Lead Among Arab American Voters, Shift Toward Democratic Party Continues

WASHINGTON – October 28, 2008 – Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s substantial lead among Arab American voters has almost doubled since September. This was one of the findings of a poll of Arab American voters conducted by Zogby International for the Arab American Institute.
The poll also found that Obama’s lead over McCain only dropped by 1% when independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr were included in the survey questions.

Other key findings of the AAI/Zogby International study were:

  • While almost two-thirds of Arab Americans are impacted by the recent economic crisis, it is no surprise that the most important issue for Arab American voters is the economy, followed distantly by Iraq and health care.
  • Approval ratings given to the Bush Administration’s performance continue to fall to 11% from 19% in September.
  • The shift in party identification continues. The Democrat/Republican break in 2000 was 40/38. Now it is 54/27.
  • Obama leads McCain by a three-to-one margin in both the two-way and four-way match-ups. In the four-way horserace, it’s Obama 64/23; in the four-way, it’s Obama 62/22, with Nader at 6 percent. Projections are now for Election Day results with Obama at 68 percent, McCain at 24 percent, and Nader at seven.
  • Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, said that “A combination of factors point not only to a huge Obama victory among Arab American voters-but a dramatic surge in the percentage of Arab Americans identifying as democrats.” Noting that Arab Americans in Michigan represent about 5% of that state’s electorate, while in Virginia and Ohio they comprise almost 2% of the vote, he continued “this can have an impact not only in the presidential election but in down ticket contests as well.”

    In 2000, the overall Arab American vote was 44% Bush, 38% Gore, 13% Nader. In 2004, it was 63% Kerry, 28% Bush with 8% for Nader.

    Zogby press release available here.

    Full report available here.

    Arab Americans To Widely Vote For Kerry: Poll

    WASHINGTON, April 28 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – A majority of Arab Americans in four battleground states would vote for democratic candidate John Kerry if presidential elections were held Thursday, April 29, a poll unveiled. The poll, conducted by the Washington-based Arab American Institute, found that 49 percent of all Arab-American voters in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania – all swing states in the November election – would vote for Kerry, while 30 percent would vote for incumbent Republican President George W. Bush. However, with Ralph Nader – an American of Lebanese descent – in the mix, Kerry’s support would slip to 45 percent, and Bush’s to 28 percent, while the independent contender would get 14 percent of the vote. The poll is based on interviews with 503 Arab-American voters in the four states and has a 4.5 percent margin of error.