Americans View Islam Less Negatively Than They Did A Year Ago | The Huffington Post
2017/02/10 Leave a comment
Not sure the extent to which this is positive (fewer negative views) or negative (greater political polarization) but ironic given the words of the Trump campaign and the words and actions of the Trump administration:
Americans’ view of Islam are, by and large, hostile. But negative opinions of the religion have dropped significantly during the past year, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, despite ― or perhaps in response to ― the anti-Islam rhetoric often espousedby President Donald Trump and his advisers.
Last March, Americans were 42 points more likely to view the religion negatively than they were to view it positively. That gap dropped to 33 points by June, and to 20 points in the most recent survey, the lowest it’s been since HuffPost/YouGov surveys first asked the question nearly two years ago.
At least one other pollster has noticed a similar shift. Shibley Telhami, the director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, wrote in The Washington Post earlier this year about having seen attitudes toward “Muslim people” growing progressively more favorable between November 2015 and October 2016 ― even after Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida.
He attributed some of the change to polarization, noting that the biggest driver was evolving opinions among Democrats, and, to a lesser extent, independents.
“As on almost all issues, partisan divisions intensified during a highly divisive election year,” he wrote. “The more one side emphasized the issue — as happened with Trump on Islam and Muslims — the more the other side took the opposite position. … Trump the president should have more sway. But he is starting at place where partisanship is not diminishing, and where his presidential rhetoric mirrors his words as a partisan candidate.”
Breaking down the two most recent HuffPost/YouGov surveys along party lines yields similar results, suggesting that the Trump administration’s rhetoric has actually galvanized Democrats, and some independents, into greater support of Islam.
In June 2016, Democrats, Republicans and independents all held net negative views of Islam, although the gap was most pronounced among Republicans. Since then, Democrats’ opinions of the religion have improved significantly ― favorable opinions have risen by 11 points, while unfavorable opinions have fallen by 13 points.