Shock Poll (Not) Finds Most Americans Agreeing about Islam

A new poll shows that a majority of Americans think that Islam conflicts with American values.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), the exact number is 56 percent, which is up from 47 percent back in 2011. Americans in general think that Islam is fundamentally at odds with western values, but a closer look at the data reveals some interesting subgroup differences. For instance, those most likely to believe that Islam conflicts with American values are Republicans at 76 percent. Evangelicals follow just behind at 73 percent, with white working-class Americans trailing at 67 percent.

College-educated whites rank at exactly 50 percent, though Democrats poll at slightly over 40 percent.

The survey was conducted before the attacks in Paris and reflects an environment of growing anxiety among state-level officials that a massive influx of refugees is not at all innocuous. As of Tuesday, the governors of 27 states have declared that they will refuse to accept Syrian refugees. The trickle of state opposition has turned into a flood.

All except for one state, New Hampshire, are Republican-run. Up to this point, 1,500 Syrian refugees have made it to the United States. President Barack Obama has promised 10,000 refugees for next year.

Legal scholars have quickly taken to the media, saying that states have no constitutional basis for opposing immigration. That power is left to the federal government. States are left to simply refuse to cooperate and drag bureaucratic heels. Some governors, like Georgia’s Nathan Deal, said thatthe state will not accept refugees until both Congress and the rest of the federal government conduct “a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks.”

The PRRI survey in 2011 found similar distrust towards Islamic beliefs and practices. A total of 1-in-3 Americans believe that American Muslims want to bring Sharia law to the United States. Almost 50 percent would be uncomfortable with a mosque in their neighborhood, 48 percent do not like Muslim women wearing the burqa and 45 percent are uncomfortable with Muslim men praying in airports.

A Pew poll in 2011 found that 15 percent of Muslims living in America believe there is a fair amount of support for Islamic extremism in Muslim-American communities, and 6 percent think there is a great deal of support.