Advertisements
Herald USA

What Americans Really Think & Feel About Muslims & Islam/ Part Two

Public opinion surveys reveal that, in general, Americans continue to express mixed views of both Muslims and Islam. Though on some measures, opinions about Muslims and Islam have become less negative in recent years, they are distinctly unfavorable. Moreover, Americans view Islam more unfavorably than they view Muslims.

What Americans Really Think and Feel About Muslims and Islam/ Part 1

“What Americans Really Think and Feel About Muslims and Islam/ Part One,” was concluded with:

“In two independent recent public opinion surveys in 2017 by Pew Research Center and the Voter Study Group, American respondents gave Muslims a negative rating of 48 degrees, the lowest among all religious groups in America. This stands in contrast to Americans’ views of Christianity and Judaism. American respondents, in a poll by Shibley Telhami in 2015, viewed Islam more unfavorably than they viewed Muslims; an attitude that has been around for some time. Views of Islam worsened in the months after 9/11 and never recovered but rather got dramatically worse this decade.”


Americans’ emotional ratings and attitudes toward Muslims and Islam vary widely depending on specific factors 

January 2017 Pew survey found out that the mean emotional ratings given to Muslims varied widely depending on the age, political orientation, race of the respondent, and whether or not they personally know Muslims.

Young adults – those aged 18 to 29 – expressed more positive feelings toward Muslims (58 degrees) than older Americans did. Americans aged 65 and older rated Muslims (44) the most negative among all age groups.

Table (1)

Muslim emotional ratings by different age, political, and racial American groups

and whether or not they know Muslims

  Muslims’ emotional rating
Americans aged 18-29 58
Americans aged 65 & older 44
Democrats & who lean to DP 56
Republicans & who lean to GOP 39
Black Americans 62
White Americans 46
Hispanic Americans 49
Americans who did not know Muslims 42
Americans who knew Muslims 56

Source: January 2017 Pew survey

Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party expressed relatively positive feelings toward Muslims, giving them an average rating of 56, up from 47 in 2014. Republicans and those who lean Republican, meanwhile, rated Muslims at a much negative 39 degrees, up from 33 in 2014.

Black Americans viewed Muslims positively (62) compared with how white (46) or Hispanic (49) Americans rated Muslims.

Americans expressed relatively positive feelings toward Muslims when they were personally familiar with a Muslim. People who did not know Muslims rated them on the negative side of the scale (42), but those who knew someone who was a Muslim rated them on the positive side (56). It’s noteworthy that 45% of Americans said they personally knew a Muslim in January 2017 Survey, up from 38% in June 2014 survey.

Table (2)

Muslim emotional ratings in descending order

by different age, political, and racial American groups

and whether or not they are familiar with Muslims

  Muslims’ emotional rating
Black Americans 62
Americans aged 18-29 58
Democrats & who lean to DP 56
Americans who knew Muslims 56
Hispanic Americans 49
Americans in general 48
White Americans 46
Americans aged 65 & older 44
Americans who did not know Muslims 42
Republicans & who lean to GOP 39

Source: Pew January 2017 Survey

Based on the above findings, the typical American who rates Muslims positively tends to be black, young (18-29), Democrat or leans to DP, and to personally knows Muslims. While, the typical American who rates Muslims negatively tends to be Republican or leans to GOP, not personally knows Muslims, aged 65 or older, and white.

The above findings of January 2017 Pew survey are consistent with some findings of the poll done by Telhami in 2015. Telhami found out Democrats had a more favorable view of the Muslim people, with almost double the respondents having favorable views as compared to unfavorable views of Muslims (67% favorable and 31% unfavorable) while 41% of the Republicans had favorable views of Muslims and 58% had unfavorable ones.

Telhami also found that Americans have a more unfavorable view of Islam (37% favorable and 61% unfavorable). This sentiment is markedly reflected among Republicans with the majority of Republicans viewed Islam unfavorably (26% favorable and 73%

unfavorable). However, slightly more Democrats viewed Islam favorably (51% favorable and 47% unfavorable).

Table (3)

Democrats had a more favorable view of Muslims and Islam

  Favorable view of Muslims Unfavorable view of Muslims Favorable view of Islam Unfavorable view of Islam
 

Democrats

 

 

67%

 

31%

 

51%

 

47%

 

Republicans

 

 

41%

 

58%

 

26%

 

73%

 

All Americans

 

53%

 

46%

 

37%

 

61%

Source: Public Opinion Poll by Shibley Telhami in 2015

Telhami also found out that Americans who said they knew some Muslims very well, across the political spectrum, tended to have much more favorable views of Muslims than those who said they didn’t know any.

Table (4)

Americans who knew some Muslims very well

had more Favorable Views of Muslims 

   Favorable view of Muslims  Unfavorable view of Muslims
 

Americans who knew some Muslims very well

 

73%

 

27%

 

Americans who didn’t know any

 

35%

 

64%

Table (5)

Democrats who knew some Muslims very well

had more Favorable Views of Muslims 

   Favorable view of Muslims Unfavorable view of Muslims
 

Democrats who knew some Muslims very well

 

82%

 

18%

 

Democrats who didn’t know any

 

52%

 

48%

Table (6)

Republicans who knew some Muslims very well

had more Favorable Views of Muslims

while those who didn’t know any had markedly unfavorable views of Muslims 

   Favorable view of Muslims Unfavorable view of Muslims
 

Republicans who knew some Muslims very well

 

59%

 

42%

 

Republicans who didn’t know any

 

22%

 

78%

Source of tables 4-6: Public Opinion Poll by Shibley Telhami in 2015

Telhami also found out that Americans who said they knew some Muslims very well, across the political spectrum, tended to have much more favorable views of Islam than those who said they didn’t know any.

Table (7)

Americans who knew some Muslims very well

had more Favorable Views of Islam than those who didn’t know any

 

  Favorable view of Islam Unfavorable view of Islam
 

Americans who knew some Muslims very well

 

49%

 

51%

 

Americans who didn’t know any

 

27%

 

72%

Table (8)

Democrats who knew some Muslims very well

had more Favorable Views of Islam

  Favorable view of Islam Unfavorable view of Islam
 

Democrats who knew some Muslims very well

 

65%

 

35%

 

Democrats who didn’t know any

 

47%

 

52%

Table (9)

Republicans who knew some Muslims very well

had more Favorable Views of Islam

  Favorable view of Islam Unfavorable view of Islam
 

Republicans who knew some Muslims very well

 

21%

 

79%

 

Republicans who didn’t know any

 

11%

 

89%

Source of tables 7-9: Public Opinion Poll by Shibley Telhami in 2015

It is noteworthy that the percentage of the favorable view of Islam among the Republicans who knew some Muslims very well (21%) is less than the percentage of the favorable view of Islam among all Republicans (26%). It seems that though knowing some Muslims has a positive effect on Republicans’ attitudes toward Muslims, it may have a negative effect upon Republicans’ attitudes toward Islam. The small sample size of “Republicans who knew some Muslims very well” may have an effect.

Table (10)

Knowing some Muslims very well has a negative effect

upon Republicans’ attitude toward Islam

  Favorable view of Islam %age with Unfavorable view of Islam
 

Republicans in general

 

26%

 

73%

 

 

Sub-group of Republicans who knew some Muslims very well

 

21%

 

79%

Table (11)

Favorable vs. Unfavorable Views of Muslims among

Americans, Democrats, & Republicans & how much affected by knowing some Muslims

(in a descending order of Favorability)

  Favorable Unfavorable
Democrats who knew some Muslims very well 82% 18%
Americans who knew some Muslims very well 73% 27%
Democrats in general 67% 31%
Republicans who knew some Muslims very well 59% 42%
Americans in general 53% 46%
Democrats who didn’t know any 52% 48%
Republicans in general 41% 58%
Americans who didn’t know any Muslims 35% 64%
Republicans who didn’t know any 22% 78%

Source of tables 10-11: Public Opinion Poll by Shibley Telhami in 2015

Based on Telhami’s findings, views of Muslims across the political spectrum are significantly affected by whether or not the American knows some Muslims very well; knowing some Muslims very well tends to be associated with a favorable view of Muslims while not knowing any Muslims tends to be associated with an unfavorable view.

Table (12)

Favorable vs. Unfavorable Views of Islam among

Americans, Democrats, & Republicans & how much affected by knowing some Muslims

(in a descending order of Favorability)

  Favorable Unfavorable
Democrats who knew some Muslims very well 65% 35%
Democrats in general 51% 47%
Americans who knew some Muslims very well 49% 51%
Democrats who didn’t know any 47% 52%
All Americans 37% 61%
Americans who didn’t know any 27% 72%
Republicans in general 26% 73%
Republicans who knew some Muslims very well 21% 79%
Republicans who didn’t know any 11% 89%

Source of tables 12: Public Opinion Poll by Shibley Telhami in 2015

Based on Telhami’s findings, the effect of knowing/not Knowing some Muslims very well on Americans in general and American Democrats’ views of Islam is different from its effect on Republicans’ views.

Knowing some Muslims very well tends to be associated with more favorable views of Islam among Democrats and with less unfavorable views among Americans in general; that is, a positive effect. And not knowing any Muslims tends to be associated with unfavorable views of Islam among Democrats and more unfavorable views of Islam among Americans in general; that is, a negative effect.

On the other side, knowing some Muslims very well tends to be associated with relatively more unfavorable views of Islam among Republicans, that is, a negative effect, and not knowing tends to be associated with markedly more unfavorable views of Islam among Republicans, that is, a relatively more negative effect.

Conclusion of Part Two

Americans’ emotional ratings and attitudes toward Muslims and Islam vary depending on the age, political orientation, race of the respondent, and whether or not they personally know Muslims. The typical American who rates Muslims positively tends to be black, young (18-29), Democrat or leans to DP, and personally know a Muslim. While the typical American who rates Muslims negatively tends to be Republican or leans to GOP, does not personally know Muslims, aged 65 or older, and white.

Across political orientation, knowing some Muslims very well tends to be associated with a favorable view of Muslims while not knowing any Muslims tends to be associated with an unfavorable view.

However, the effect of knowing/not Knowing some Muslims very well on Americans’ views of Islam of general and American Democrats is different from its effect on Republicans’ views of Islam. Knowing some Muslims very well tends to be associated with more favorable views of Islam among Democrats and with less unfavorable views among Americans in general, that is, a positive effect. And not knowing any Muslims tends to be associated with unfavorable views of Islam among Democrats and more unfavorable views of Islam among Americans in general, that is, a negative effect.

On the other side, Republicans’ knowing of some Muslims very well tends to be associated with relatively more unfavorable views of Islam, that is, a negative effect, and not knowing tends to be associated with markedly more unfavorable views of Islam, that is, a relatively more negative effect.

Advertisements
Tags

About the author

A.Z. Mohamed

A.Z. Mohamed

A. Z. Mohamed, born in Cairo, is a U.S. and Middle East-based news and research analyst. His areas of interest are radical and moderate Islam, jihadism and terrorism, deradicalization, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Islam and Muslims in U.S. and Europe. He has a degree and training in psychology and human resource counseling. For work and other obligations, he began to get his writings published only in 2017.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

Follow us on Twitter

Advertisements
Advertisements