Since we first began our polling on American attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims in 2010, there has been
continued erosion in the favorable ratings given to both communities, posing a threat to the rights of Arab
Americans and American Muslims. Favorable attitudes have continued to decline – from 43% in 2010 to
32% in 2014 for Arabs; and from 35% in 2010 to 27% in 2014 for Muslims.
A direct consequence of this disturbing trend is that a significant number of Americans (42%) support the
use of profiling by law enforcement against Arab Americans and American Muslims and a growing
percentage of Americans say that they lack confidence in the ability of individuals from either community
to perform their duties as Americans should they be appointed to an important government position. 36%
of respondents felt that Arab Americans would be influenced by their ethnicity and 42% of respondents
felt that American Muslims would be influenced by their religion.
While the persistence of negative Arab and Muslim stereotypes is a factor in shaping attitudes toward
both groups, our polling establishes that lack of direct exposure to Arab Americans and American
Muslims also plays a role in shaping attitudes. What we find is that Americans who say they know either
Arabs or Muslims have significantly higher favorable attitudes toward both (33% higher in both cases)
and also have greater confidence in their ability to serve in important government positions. This is
especially true among younger and non-white Americans, greater percentages of whom indicate knowing
Arabs and Muslims and having more favorable attitudes toward both communities.
Another of the poll’s findings establishes that a majority of Americans say that they feel that do not know
enough about Arab history and people (57%) or about Islam and Muslims (52%). Evidence of this comes
through clearly in other poll responses where respondents wrongly conflate the two communities – with
significant numbers assuming that most Arab Americans are Muslim (in reality, less than a third are) or
that most American Muslims are Arab (less than one-quarter are).
The way forward is clear. Education about and greater exposure to Arab Americans and American
Muslims are the keys both to greater understanding of these growing communities of American citizens
and to insuring that their rights are secured.
Zogby Analytics conducted an online survey of 1110 likely voters in the United States between June 27,
2014 and June 29, 2014. Based on a confidence interva
- Arabs and Muslims have the lowest favorable/highest unfavorable ratings among the groups covered.
- Note that one in four Americans were either unfamiliar with or not sure of their attitudes toward these
- There is a deep partisan divide on unfavorable attitudes towards Arabs and Muslims. While Democrats
give Arabs a net 38%/30% favorable rating and Muslims a net 35%/33% rating, Republicans give Arabs a
net 28%/54% unfavorable rating and Muslims a 21%/63% unfavorable rating.
- The partisan divide masks a generational and racial divide. Younger Americans (18-29) view Arabs
and Muslims more favorably than older Americans (65+). Favorable attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims
are significantly higher among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.