According to a poll of American attitudes released today by the Brookings Institution (PDF), conservatives, Republicans, and Fox News viewers are more likely than other Americans to hold views widely considered to be Islamophobic. The study, “What It Means To Be American: Attitudes In An Increasingly Diverse America Ten Years After 9/11,” tracks views of Muslims and disaggregates them by political affiliations and views.
Overall, the survey of nearly 2,500 respondents found that 47 percent of respondents think Islam is out of step with American values, while 48 percent disagreed. Adherents of conservative political parties, movements, and media were more likely than the general populace to have negative views of Muslims and their place in American society. The report’s introduction explains:
Approximately two-thirds of Republicans, Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement, and Americans who most trust Fox News agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values. A majority of Democrats, Independents, and those who most trust CNN or public television disagree.
The report also notes that incorrect views of Muslims’ beliefs are also on the rise. CAP recently released a report called “Fear, Inc.” that traced and documented the rise of an anti-Muslim movement spear-headed by American bloggers and self-proclaimed “experts.” While, according to the Brookings report, more than 60 percent of Americans don’t believe Muslims are trying to institute Muslim religious law — known as Sharia — across the U.S., there are an increasing number who do:
Over the last 8 months agreement with this question has increased by 7 points, from 23 percent in February 2011 to 30 percent today.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that many of Americans’ unfounded and Islamophobic views were most prevalent among those who trusted Fox News more than any other source of news. On the Sharia question, the report noted:
Nearly 6-in-10 Republicans who most trust Fox News believe that American Muslims are trying to establish Shari’a law in the U.S. The attitudes of Republicans who most trust other news sources look similar to the general population.
This chart from the report shows how Fox viewers, more so than viewers affiliated with any other news outlet, are more likely to hold incorrect and Islamophobic views:
The poll on which the Brookings Institute’s analysis is based was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Two people from PRRI and two from Brookings worked together to author the Brookings report.