Public Split on Muslims, Mormons; Polls Reveals Negative Views
Byline: Kristi Moore, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Americans' attitudes about Muslims are more negative now than in years past, while a slim majority of the public expresses a favorable view of Mormons, according to a national religious poll released yesterday.
"I think the main find in this survey is the fact that the public holds such mixed views of Islam and Mormonism," said Gregory Smith, research fellow for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The survey indicated that about 43 percent of Americans say they have a favorable opinion of Muslims, while 35 percent express a negative view. Opinions of Muslims were more positive in 2004, with 48 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable.
As in previous surveys, Muslim Americans are seen more positively than Muslims overall; however, opinions of Muslim Americans have also become more negative.
A mere 53 percent of the public expresses "a favorable view of Mormons, while 27 percent view Mormons unfavorably," stated the survey released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
For religious groups, the survey indicated that "a solid majority of white mainline Protestants and white non-Hispanic Catholics express favorable opinions of Mormons," said the survey conducted for Pew by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas Inc. "Among white evangelical Protestants, just 46 percent have a positive impression of Mormons, while 39 percent have an unfavorable opinion."
Mr. Smith was also intrigued by the fact that about 31 percent of Americans say that Mormonism is not a Christian religion.
Opinions were also affected by personal experiences, the poll indicating that among those who know a Muslim, for instance, 56 percent have a favorable overall impression of Muslims, compared with just 32 percent of those who are not acquainted with a Muslim. …