Muslim Center Near Ground Zero: Cordoba House Controversy Could Pose Political Risks

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Reflecting these sentiments, 83 percent of Republicans are opposed, compared with 53 percent of Democrats. (Among independents it's 65 percent -- at the approximate midpoint between political partisans.) Opposition is 87 percent among self-described "very conservative" adults (three-quarters "strongly" opposed) and 86 percent among evangelical white Protestants, two groups that hold Islam in especially deep suspicion.

Whites are much more apt than nonwhites to oppose construction, likely reflecting their partisan differences. And there's also a generational difference: While 56 percent of adults younger than 40 oppose construction of the Cordoba House, 72 percent of their elders are against building it.

POLITICS: As noted, the results suggest political risk in advocating construction of the facility at its planned location. That's because 42 percent of registered voters say they feel strongly enough about the issue that it may influence their votes -- and 80 percent in this group oppose construction.

That's a net total of 34 percent who both oppose construction and say the issue could affect their votes. Their opposites -- the number who favor construction, and say the issue could affect their vote -- is far lower, 8 percent.

ABC News Poll: the Muslim Community Center

ISLAM/GROUPS: As with the Cordoba House controversy, there are sharp divisions in overall attitudes on Islam. Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to view the religion favorably, 49 percent vs. 24 percent. Young adults, the most-educated Americans, liberals and those with no religion are most apt to view Islam favorably; their opposites are most critical of the faith.

Views on violence follow a similar pattern. More than four in 10 Republicans, 43 percent, say mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims. That subsides to 24 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents.

PREJUDICE: It's a closer call across groups in the numbers who report "at least some feelings of prejudice" against Muslims -- for example, a quarter of Democrats and independents, and a similar 31 percent of Republicans.

For perspective, at 26 percent, self-reported feelings of prejudice against Muslims are lower than self-reported feelings of racial prejudice, 35 percent in an ABC/Post poll in 2009, including roughly equal numbers of whites and African-Americans alike.

Self-reported prejudice against Muslims is far higher than the number of Americans who say they oppose building mosques in general, not simply the Cordoba House at its planned location. That's 9 percent of the public.

METHODOLOGY: This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2010, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin. Click here for a detailed description of sampling error. This survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

ABC News polls can be found at ABCNEWS.com at http://abcnews.com/pollingunit

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