Margaret Talev, Bloomberg, February 4, 2015
Two out of five Republicans likely to participate in Iowa’s presidential caucuses say they are inclined to view Islam as an inherently violent religion that inspires brutality by its followers, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll.
Twice as many Democrats–along with a majority of Republicans–say they view the world’s second largest religion as inherently peaceful, the poll found.
The divisions, coming after the Charlie Hebdo killings in France and and the Islamic State’s beheadings of several Western prisoners, may shape the way White House hopefuls from both parties address Islamic militancy, both in terms of fighting threats abroad and balancing freedom of religion and expression with security concerns.
In the poll, conducted Jan. 26-29, 402 likely Republican caucus-goers and 401 likely Democratic caucus-goers were asked: “When it comes to the Islamic faith, which of the following is closer to your view?” They were given two choices: “Islam is an inherently violent religion, which leads its followers to violent acts” and “Islam is an inherently peaceful religion, but there are some who twist its teachings to justify violence.”
Fifty-three percent of likely Republican caucus participants and 81 percent of likely Democratic caucus participants said they believe Islam is inherently peaceful. Only 13 percent of likely Democratic caucus participants said they view Islam as inherently violent, compared with 39 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.