Tracking Radical Opinions in Polls of U.S. Muslims

Veronika Fajmonová, Sophia Moskalenko, Clark McCauley


This Research Note examines two telephone polls (2007, 2011) and three Internet polls (2016) to track opinionsof U.S. Muslims relating to the war on terrorism. Results indicate that a small but consistent minority (five to tenpercent) justify suicide bombing of civilians in defense of Islam, while those seeing the war on terrorism as a war on Islam have declined from more than half to about a third. This decline coincided with a decline in perception of discrimination against Muslims in the U.S., and correlational results confirm that perceived discriminationis one source of seeing the war on terrorism as a war on Islam. Other results from both the Pew and Internetpolls show that disapproval of U.S. foreign policies affecting Muslims also contributes to seeing a war on Islam.Discussion emphasizes the value of Internet polling for tracking shifts in the opinions of U.S. Muslims, but acknowledges that polling has not yet discovered what is different about the small minority who justify suicide bombing.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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