The United States holds less favorable attitudes toward Muslim and Arab communities than it did five years ago, a poll released Monday found. The poll also found there was a "deep partisan divide" reflected in those sentiments.
Favorable attitudes toward American Muslims have dropped from 48 percent to 33 percent since 2010, while over the same period favorable attitudes toward American Arabs have dropped 49 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll, conducted by Zogby Analytics, a nonpartisan research firm based in New York. The poll was commissioned by the Arab American Institute, a non-profit, nonpartisan group that encourages Arab Americans to participate in civil and political life.
The poll, which surveyed some 1,000 adults online Dec. 7, found that feelings toward Arab-American and Muslim-American communities were split along party lines. Fifty-one percent of Democrats had favorable sentiments toward Arab Americans, compared with 34 percent for Republicans. Forty-four percent of Democrats gave a favorable rating to American Muslims, compared with 25 percent for Republicans.
“Attitudes toward Arab-Americans and American Muslims were impacted by 9/11, but not as significantly as the beginning of the very virulent campaign against the communities that started in 2010 with the Park 51 campaign [a heavily protested Islamic community center that was planned near Ground Zero in Manhattan] and the spillover effect this Islamophobia had on attitudes actually toward both Muslims and Arab Americans that got worse in 2012 and in 2014, and we are where we are today,” James Zogby , co-founder and president of the Arab American Institute, said, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The polling company Zogby Analytics was founded by James Zogby’s brother, John Zogby.
The survey was conducted just weeks after terrorist attacks in Paris — carried out by extremists with the Islamic State group — that killed 130 people Nov. 13 and just days after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people and was carried out by a radicalized married couple. The poll cited a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.