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Tracking Radical Opinions in Polls of U.S. Muslims


This Research Note examines two telephone polls (2007, 2011) and three Internet polls (2016) to track opinions of U.S. Muslims relating to the war on terrorism. Results indicate that a small but consistent minority (five to ten percent) 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 discrimination is one source of seeing the war on terrorism as a war on Islam. Other results from both the Pew and Internet polls 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.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Fajmonova, Veronika, Sophia Moskalenko, and Clark McCauley. 2017. "Tracking Radical Opinions in Polls of U.S. Muslims." Perspectives on Terrorism 11 (April): 36-48. http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/594