New Yorkers Want Ground Zero Mosque Moved Regardless of Rights, Poll Says
Four out of five voters in New York state agree Muslims have the right to build a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Manhattan, yet 67 percent say they should voluntarily move it elsewhere, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
Attitudes toward the proposed Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero split along party lines. Democrats said it would be appropriate, 50 percent to 34 percent; Republicans rejected it, 90 percent to 8 percent, and independents opposed it 63 percent to 30 percent.
The issue, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Aug. 4 was “as important a test of the separation of church and state as any we may see in our lifetime,” has drawn opposition from national figures including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, both Republicans.
The proposal has become an issue in this year’s campaign for New York’s governor. Republican Carl Paladino denounced it and Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the state’s attorney general, rejected calls to investigate the finances of the mosque’s developer without evidence or allegations of wrongdoing.
“Most voters think it isn’t ‘appropriate’ to put a mosque close to Ground Zero,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, based in Hamden, Connecticut. “Republicans overwhelmingly say no; Democrats say yes. But almost all New Yorkers agree that America’s belief in freedom of religion gives Muslims the right to build the mosque.”
The proportion of voters who said the U.S. Constitution guarantees the Islamic group’s right to build near the World Trade Center site rose to 80 percent in the survey released today, from 54 percent in an Aug. 31 poll.
Regardless of religious freedom, voters in the current survey preferred that the Islamic sponsors voluntarily relocate, 67 percent to 21 percent. Last month, voters said they wanted the Muslims to change their plans by 71 percent to 21 percent.
The telephone survey, conducted Sept. 16 to Sept. 20, included 751 New York state likely voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, the polling institute said in a news release.
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