Nearly half of Republican voters support Donald Trump's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, with 42 percent of GOP respondents reporting they agree with the presidential candidate's plan in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday. By comparison, the survey found that 75 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independent voters were at odds with the Muslim travel ban.
Across all parties, the poll found that 59 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Muslims, a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2002. However, Republicans held greater biases against Muslims, with 48 percent viewing the Muslim population unfavorably and 43 percent holding favorable views toward them.
Democrats, in comparison, saw Muslims at rate of 75 percent favorably compared to 14 percent unfavorably. Independents landed in the middle of the two parties, with 59 percent holding favorable opinions, while 25 percent did not.
The study was conducted from Dec. 6-9, and surveyed 1,000 American voters, but the questions regarding Trump were asked of 495 voters in a period from Dec. 8-9.
Trump released his proposal Monday in response to last week's attacks in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people at a developmental disability aid facility called Inland Regional Center. The shooters are believed to have had ties to the extremist Islamic State group, according to officials.
"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension," Trump said in a statement. "Where this hatred comes from and why, we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."
Critics were quick to condemn Trump's proposal which they say is Islamophobic. Several advocacy group spoke out against the Republican candidate, and people in the United Kingdom launched a petition to ban him from the country.