Perceptions of Americans are divided on Islam & violence

Americans are divided about whether they see Islam as more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers: 46% say it is more likely, while 45% say it is not more likely, according to a national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 8-13 among 1,500 adults.

The share of tWide partisan divide over whether Islam is more likely to encourage violencehe public saying that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence has dropped four percentage points since a historical high of 50% in September 2014.

For much of the past decade, public views on this measure have been closely divided.

The partisan divide over whether Islam encourages violence is now as wide as it has ever been.

Fully 68% of Republicans say Islam encourages violence more than other religions, a historical high but little changed since last fall.

By contrast, just 30% of Democrats say Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, down from 42% in September 2014, but on par with Democratic opinion at other points in recent years.

Independents remain split over this question: 45% say Islam is more likely to enDemographic divides in views of Islam and violencecourage violence than other religions, while the same proportion (45%) say it is not.

Ideological divides are even starker, and growing: About three-quarters (77%) of conservative Republicans say that Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions (just 16% say it does not). Liberal Democratic opinion is nearly the inverse: 73% of liberal Democrats say Islam is no more likely than other religions to encourage violence, while 21% believe that it does.

The share of liberals saying Islam is more likely to encourage violence is down 14-points since the fall of 2014.

Just 32% of those ages 18 to 29 say Islam encourages violence to a greater degree than other faiths, compared with roughly half of those in other age groups. But the age gap in these views is narrower than it was last fall.

Today, 51% of Americans 65 and older say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence; last September, 64% said this.

 

The view that Islam is more violent than other religions is more likely to be held by less educated Americans: 51% of those who have not attended college say this, compared with 40% of those with college degrees and just 35% of those with postgraduate degrees.

Racial divides over these views persist. While only 30% of blacks and 40% of Hispanics say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, half of whites (50%) say this.

Seven-in-ten white evangelical Protestants say Islam encourages violence more than other religions, the highest percentage of any religious group and little changed from 2014.

By comparison, about half of Catholics (49%) and white mainline Protestants (51%) say this. And among the religiously unaffiliated, just 35% say Islam is more likely to encourage violence among its believers.


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