August 31, 2010 - 9/11 Family Concerns Outweigh Muslim Right To Mosque, New York State Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; 71 Percent Say Cuomo Should Probe Mosque Finances

Word format

The controversy surrounding a proposed mosque near Ground Zero leaves New York State voters with conflicting opinions about religious freedom and the sensitivities of the families of 9/11 victims, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

By a 54 - 40 percent majority, voters agree "that because of American freedom of religion, Muslims have the right to build the mosque near Ground Zero," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Another 7 percent are undecided.

But these same voters agree 53 - 39 percent, with 8 percent undecided, "that because of the sensitivities of 9/11 relatives, Muslims should not be allowed to build the mosque near Ground Zero."

And by a 71 - 21 percent majority, voters agree "that because of the opposition of Ground Zero relatives, the Muslim group should voluntarily build the mosque somewhere else."

By a 45 - 31 percent margin, New York State voters say they have a "generally favorable" opinion of Islam, with 24 percent undecided.

"The heated, sometimes angry, debate over the proposal to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero has New York State voters twisted in knots, with some of them taking contradictory positions depending on how the question is asked," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"A majority agrees that American freedom of religion gives Muslims the right to build the mosque near the site of the terrorist attack. Republicans disagree 54 - 39 percent.

"Because of the sensitivities of relatives of the terrorist victims, an almost identical majority, including many of the same voters, believes Muslims should not be allowed to open the mosque."

"Overwhelmingly, across all party and regional lines, New Yorkers say the sponsors ought to voluntarily move the proposed mosque to another location," Carroll added.

New York City voters say 63 - 28 percent that mosque proponents should voluntarily choose another site, compared to 76 - 17 percent among upstate voters and the same 76 - 17 percent among suburban voters.

Mainstream Islam is a peaceful religion, rather than one which encourages violence against non-Muslims, New York State voters say 54 - 24 percent, with 21 percent undecided. New York City voters say 62 - 21 percent that Islam is peaceful, compared to 49 - 28 percent among upstate voters and 51 - 25 percent among suburban voters.

New York State voters say 71 - 22 percent that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo should investigate the financing of the mosque. Even Democrats say 65 - 25 percent that Cuomo should look into the mosque's financing.

"Most voters believe that Islam is a peaceful religion. New York City voters in general have more positive views about Islam," Carroll said.

President Obama's Approval

President Barack Obama gets a 51 - 41 percent job approval rating from New York State voters, down from 53 - 41 percent and his lowest score ever in New York. Independent voters disapprove by a narrow 49 - 44 percent, joining Republicans who disapprove 80 - 13 percent. Democrats approve 82 - 11 percent.

"It's not a good time for President Barack Obama. Even in true-blue New York, his job approval is hovering at the half-way mark," Carroll said.

From August 23 - 29, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,497 New York State registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and nationwide as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

19. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Approve              51%    13%    82%    44%    50%    53%
Disapprove           41     80     11     49     44     40
DK/NA                 7      7      7      6      7      8
 
                     UpStat NYC     Suburbs
Approve              46%    66%     36%
Disapprove           47     27      54
DK/NA                 6      7      10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                             APPROVE......
                                                             High    Low
                     Aug 31  Jul 29  Jun 22  Apr 13  Feb 3   Feb 19  Aug 31
                     2010    2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2010
Approve              51      53      55      62      57      72      51
Disapprove           41      41      39      33      38      17      41
DK/NA                 7       6       6       5       5      10       7
 
 
28. Would you say you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of Islam, the Muslim religion?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Favorable            45%    32%    51%    51%    47%    44%
Unfavorable          31     48     24     28     33     29
DK/NA                24     20     25     21     20     28
 
                     UpStat NYC    Suburbs
Favorable            40%    55%    37%
Unfavorable          33     26     33
DK/NA                26     19     29
 
 
29. Every religion has mainstream beliefs, and also fringe elements or extremists. Thinking of mainstream Islam, do you think mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims, or is it a peaceful religion?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Encourages violence  24%    35%    16%    28%    27%    22%
Peaceful religion    54     41     63     55     56     53
DK/NA                21     23     21     17     17     25
 
                     UpStat NYC    Suburbs
Encourages violence  28%    21%    25%
Peaceful religion    49     62     51
DK/NA                24     17     24
 
 
30. Some people say that because of American freedom of religion, Muslims have the right to build the mosque near Ground Zero. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Agree                54%    39%    58%    61%    61%    48%
Disagree             40     54     35     34     34     45
DK/NA                 7      7      7      5      6      8
 
                     UpStat NYC    Suburbs
Agree                55%    55%    48%
Disagree             37     39     44
DK/NA                 8      5      7
 
 
31. Some people say that because of the sensitivities of 9-11 relatives, Muslims should not be allowed to build the mosque near Ground Zero. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Agree                53%    72%    43%    52%    50%    56%
Disagree             39     22     49     41     45     34
DK/NA                 8      6      8      7      6     10
 
                     UpStat NYC    Suburbs
Agree                53%    49%    58%
Disagree             38     46     30
DK/NA                 8      5     12
 
 
32. Some people say that because of the opposition of Ground Zero relatives, the Muslim group should voluntarily build the mosque somewhere else. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Agree                71%    85%    61%    73%    69%    72%
Disagree             21      8     30     22     24     19
DK/NA                 8      7      9      5      7      9
 
                     UpStat NYC    Suburbs
Agree                76%    63%    76%
Disagree             17     28     17
DK/NA                 7      9      7
 
 
33. Do you think Attorney General Andrew Cuomo should or should not investigate the financing of the mosque?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Yes                  71%    82%    65%    71%    70%    71%
No                   22     12     25     22     25     19
DK/NA                 8      6     10      6      5     10
 
                     UpStat NYC    Suburbs
Yes                  67%    69%    79%
No                   23     24     16
DK/NA                10      7      4