A new Siena poll
of New York state finds that registered voters here continue to oppose the construction of the Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York City -- but at the same time, they overwhelmingly say that the Muslim group involved has the constitutional right to build it.
The poll asked: "Do you support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a 15 story Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan 2 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center?" Here the top-line answer is 27% support to 63% opposed. As we've seen before, opposition is lower in New York City itself, where 36% support it and 56% are opposed.
A follow-up question asked: "Regardless of whether you personally support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House, do you believe the developers of the Cordoba House have a Constitutional right to proceed with the construction of the mosque and Muslim cultural center or not?" Here the answer is 64% yes, to only 28% no. Indeed, the internals of the poll show that even a majority of people who didn't support the center in the previous question still affirm the right of the organizers to construct it, by a 51%-42% margin within that sub-group.
From the pollster's analysis:
"The level of opposition to building the Cordoba House remains very strong, with 63 percent of voters opposing it and only 27 percent supporting it, virtually the same as the 61-26 percent opposition in the Siena Poll two weeks ago. Voters, however, can clearly distinguish their personal view on whether the community center and mosque should be built near Ground Zero from their opinion on whether the developers have a Constitutional right to build the Cordoba House there," Greenberg said.
"Nearly two-thirds of voters - 64 percent - think the developers do have a Constitutional right to build the mosque and Muslim community center near Ground Zero, compared to only 28 percent who say they do not," Greenberg said. "A majority of every demographic group - by party, region, age, gender, political philosophy - agrees that there is a Constitutional right to proceed. Even a majority of those who oppose building the mosque agree by a margin of 51-42 percent that they have the right to build it."