More than half of Americans believe Islam is “at odds” with their values, marking a downturn in Americans’ perceptions of the faith in recent years, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Tuesday.
Fifty-six percent of respondents to PPRI’s annual “American Values Survey” said that the values of Islam fundamentally clash with those of the United States while 41 percent disagreed. Respondents’ opinions were more evenly split as recently as 2011, with 47 percent agreeing on the clash in ideology and 48 percent disagreeing.
The survey found Americans’ perceptions of Islam are influenced by race, religion and political identity as well. More white Americans are likely to believe that Islam is at odds with their values than black or Hispanic Americans at 61 percent to 48 and 46 percent, respectively. In addition, an overwhelming 73 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 63 percent of white mainline Protestants hold that Islam is fundamentally at odds with the American “way of life.” Only 37 percent of non-Christian religious groups (including Jews, Hindus, Muslims and other world religions) agreed, the survey found.
As for political leanings, conservatives are much more likely to hold negative opinions of Islam. Seventy-six percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents said the religion is at odds with American values, while only 43 percent of Democrats concurred.
The PPRI survey was conducted from Sept. 11-Oct. 4. Researchers contacted 2,695 adults in all 50 states online and by telephone, in both Spanish and English. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.