The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

On the eve of hearings before the House Homeland Security Committee on the radicalization of domestic Muslims, Pew has released a poll that asks whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. My first reaction was: what is this, a trick question? But it turns out that a great many Americans are in doubt:

The public remains divided over whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers. Currently, 40% say the Islamic religion is more likely than others to encourage violence while 42% say it is not.

The history of responses to this question is interesting:
PewPoll0068.jpg
Responses break down politically and demographically exactly the way you would expect. This strikes me as a sort of laboratory experiment that measures how many people are bound by constraints of political correctness in answering pollsters’ questions.
Another poll, this one by USA Today and Gallup, finds that by a 52-38 margin, Americans think the hearings that are about to begin in Peter King’s House committee are appropriate. This suggests that the Democrats’ pre-emptive strike against King’s hearings has not been particularly effective.

Responses

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