The FINANCIAL — Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson has been criticized by other candidates and the media for saying he could not support a Muslim for president of the United States. But guess what? Over half of U.S. voters agree.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of Likely U.S. Voters say they would not personally be willing to vote for a Muslim president. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 28% say they would be willing to support a Muslim in the White House. A sizable 20% are undecided.
Fifty-two percent (52%) say most of their family, friends and co-workers also would not be willing to vote for a Muslim president. Only 15% say they would. Thirty-two percent (32%) are not sure.
By comparison, 78% said they could vote for a black president after Barack Obama clinched enough delegates to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.
Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats – 73% to 35% – to say they would not personally vote for a Muslim to be U.S. president. A plurality (48%) of voters not affiliated with either major party agrees.
The large number of undecideds suggests that many voters are unwilling to reveal their opinion on what is seen as a controversial topic.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of Americans think political correctness is a problem in America today. Seventy-three percent (73%) think Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters believe that when it comes to covering prospective presidential candidates, the media is more interested in creating controversies about them than it is in reporting where they stand on the issues.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans – and 71% of all voters – think most reporters, when covering a political campaign, try to help the candidate they want to win.
Those under 40 are more supportive of a Muslim president than their elders are, but even younger voters don’t have much confidence in their family, friends and relatives to agree.
Whites are much less likely to say they would vote for a Muslim president than are blacks and other minority voters. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of whites say their family, friends and relatives would not vote to put a Muslim in the White House, but just 40% of blacks and 41% of other minority voters agree.
Just 10% of GOP voters and 14% of unaffiliateds say their family, friends and relations would vote for a Muslim chief executive. That compares to 21% of Democrats, but a plurality (44%) of voters in President Obama’s party are not sure.
Liberals are far more likely than conservatives and moderates to say they personally would vote for a Muslim president but are much less sure of their family, friends and relatives.
Forty percent (40%) of all voters still believe most Muslims around the world view the United States as an enemy, but that down from a high of 49% earlier this year. Thirty-five percent (35%) don’t think most Muslims see the United States as an enemy, but 24% are not sure.
Fifty-two percent (52%) believe Islam as practiced today encourages violence more than most other religions. Seventy-five percent (75%) think Islamic religious leaders need to do more to emphasize the peaceful beliefs of their faith.
Just prior to his comments about a Muslim president, 59% of Likely Republican Voters said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is likely to win the Republican nomination, but only 16% felt it is Very Likely.