A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

U.S. Muslim Opinions about ISIS, the Syrian Conflict and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election


The research presented here is a continuation of a research project ongoing since 2012 that aims to explore the efficacy and utility of Internet polling as a tool to access opinions and attitudes of U.S. Muslims. Five previous waves of surveys were carried out prior to Wave 6, which is the focus of this report. The survey instrument used in Wave 6 included most of the same questions asked in Wave 5, with the addition of a single question about the November 2016 U.S presidential election.  Appendix B shows the complete survey as programmed for internet participants.  

Our sixth U.S. Muslim Internet poll was conducted from October 28 to November 7, 2016; the poll was completed by 216 participants thought to be representative of the U.S. Muslim adult population. Questions included opinions of Islamic State, opinions about the Syrian conflict and the Syrian refugee crisis, and opinions relating to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Results indicate that U.S. Muslims continue to hold very negative opinions of suicide bombing and of ISIS, and endorse allowing more Syrian refugees into the United States. Radical opinions about ISIS and about suicide bombing were negatively correlated with endorsement of a United Nation of Islam. Radical opinions were positively correlated with an Alienation scale that measured participants’ perception of isolation and social rejection. Compared with Wave 5, there were no significant changes in radical opinions, opinions about the Syrian conflict, or opinions about a “United States of Islam.”  Possible implications for these findings are considered in the discussion section.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

McCauley, Clark, and Sophia Moskalenko. “U.S. Muslim Opinions about ISIS, the Syrian Conflict and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Results of a Fall 2016 Internet Poll of 216 U.S. Muslims,” Report to the Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. College Park, MD: START, 2017.