August 18th, 2010
10:47 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: New Yorkers oppose mosque, recognize constitutionality

ALT TEXT This building in New York used to house a Burlington Coat Factory and is slated to house Cordoba House, a planned Islamic community center and mosque. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

(CNN) - New York voters oppose by a nearly 2-to-1 margin plans to build an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan, according to a new Siena Research Institute poll released Wednesday.

The same voters, however, overwhelmingly say the center's developers have a constitutional right to build it.

When asked if they "support or oppose the proposal to build the Cordoba House," New Yorkers said they oppose the facility, which is expected to cost $100 million, by a 63-27 percent margin. At the same time, by a 64-to-28 percent margin, New Yorkers say Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the constitutional right to build it.

"A majority of every demographic group – by party, region, age, gender, political philosophy – agrees that there is a Constitutional right to proceed," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. "Even a majority of those who oppose building the mosque agree by a margin of 51-42 percent that they have the right to build it."

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released August 11 marked nationwide opposition to the proposed facility at 68 percent.

The Siena poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. It was conducted by phone with 788 New York State voters from August 9-16.

Filed under: issues • Polls • Religion
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    So who's gonna say something when the building is vandalized over and over again? The "constitutional" panderers???? Not likely

    August 18, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. ryan

    Any polls of New York City voters?

    August 18, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Zevie

    It's easier to get a mosque built near ground zero than it is to get a Walmart or Target to open ANYWHERE in Manhattan. City council and unions have overwhelmingly been against box stores in Manhattan as it infringes on their "right" to suck more money out of the consumer. I guess that's constitutional too.

    August 18, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Eric

    Heard the latest?

    House Speaker Nancy "I-have-officially-unhitched-my-wagon-from-reality" Pelosi now wants a congressional investigation NOT into the origins of funding for the building of the mosque, but to the origins of the funding for the OPPOSITION to the mosque.

    Did I wake up in the Twilight Zone this morning?

    Democrats, if you think you're going to ride this manufactured PC nonsense into electoral victory in November, I suggest you (ahem) "rethink that plan." Better yet, keep at it... we could use the extra dozen GOP house seats it will generate.

    This may be THEEEE event that finally puts a stake in the dead heart of the vampire of political correctness as we know it.

    I've heard this is a great opportunity for a show of tolerance. I agree... Muslims should show how tolerant they are of other people's concerns and relocate the mosque... and nothing short of that.

    We've heard for a generation now about how we shouldn't offend the muslims or hurt their "widdle feewings." Well, that cuts both ways and I think we've got nearly 3,000 very good reasons to feel that way.

    BTW, if you think this mosque's proximity to the WTC is coincidental, you're a fool, and a wrecklessly dangerous one, at that. Maybe we should outsource our common sense to the Israelis, as THEY know how to properly deal with this headchopping, stoning, nose cutting, 7-year-old-marrying "religion of peace."

    August 18, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. New Age Independant

    Funny how Obama supports the building of Muslim mosque, yet the only church to be destroyed on 9/11, The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, gets no support?

    August 18, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. John Leo

    Poor judgement, but completely legal. Another site 5 or more additional blocks away would be better for them and the local residents and present a better image overall.

    August 18, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Bill

    Hey did you hear "Learjets are too small for me Pelosi" wants to investigate those opposed. Its a laugh a minute. It might improve the neighborhood and some liberals will actually standing up for religious freedom – gets weirder every day.

    August 18, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    I think most real Americans agree with the President's statement. It's a recognized Constitutional right that an Islamic community center has the right to have a mosque. It's also a bit uncomfortable to have it so close to Ground Zero.

    The American people know that it was Al Queda that attacked us on 9/11, not Muslims. The American people also know that Al Queda is recruiting in mosques and are planning another attack at some point in the future. Stopping the community center won't stop the next attack, and stopping the community center only lets Al Queda win.

    August 18, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Pat

    As long as they NEVER construct any other kind of religious structure on that spot, I'm okay with moving the location. In fact, I'm in favor of putting a moratorium on ALL religious buildings of any kind.

    August 18, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Jim

    I always knew New Yorkers where smart.

    Although the mosque is planned to be built "near" ground zero (in reality about 3 – 4 blocks away by the aerial photo maps I've seen) and I agree that the group wanting to build it has every Constitutional right to build it, my preference would be a discreet mile from the site in deference to the survivors families,

    The day we prohibit one religion from practicing freely in the country is the day we all lose our right to choose and practice our religions.

    August 18, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Cindy

    Well thank goodness for our Constitution. I'm glad the President had the "cajones" to remind us we still follow it.

    August 18, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. "
    – Evelyn B. Hall, 1906

    "I disapprove of what you say/do, and I will demonize you and rally my armies of uneducated, misinformed, angry, fearful bigots to prevent you from saying/doing it."
    – GOP, 2010

    We've come a long way. Next stop: fascism.

    August 18, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Eric

    So now are the polls now incoherent? I mean is this not exactly Obamas' stance? Is it not the most logical stance? Anyone who thinks that Obama's responses is incoherent or sending mixed signals are dumb deaf blind and utterly retarded

    August 18, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Steve

    Sorry, it isn't possible to recognize the group's right to build the community center and be opposed to it – opposing the building of the center is denying a muslim's freedom to express their religion. We need to get past the FALSE and MISGUIDED notion that Islam had a direct accountability for what happened on 9-11 and recognize that a terrorist organization was responsible, not Islam. The wars in Iraq and Afganistan were in response to 9-11 and are against terrorism, not Islam – we need to stop linking the two.

    August 18, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Jeddy

    There should be more schools!

    August 18, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. WhatIsTheDifference

    In the past, at least in less sophisticated parts of the U.S, a government body (city, county, state, etc) has used eminent domain to "acquire" land it has plans for regardless of whatever plans the owner of that land may have. Excercise it twice. Grab land somewhere else for the mosque and reserve this piece of property for something that the obvious majority (63 – 27 support) WILL approve. I mean, local groups should have SOME control over what is in their neighborhood. Especially if the feared violent response pans out.

    August 18, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. jim

    CNN is trying everything possible to spin this story in such a way to help their ole buddy Obama but you know what.It's not wotking He stepped in a pile of elephant dung (which he didn't need to do)and nothing will make us forget what he said.

    August 18, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. aubrie

    Attention New Yorkers. For your own well being and that of your children, pay VERY CLOSE attention to what allowing things of this nature did to France.

    August 18, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    AND, this is a constitution written by the so-called "forefathers" that tends to be rewritten when it does not satisfy some!!!

    Is this just "Lower Manhattan" or does this polll represent 'all' of New York?

    I am a native-NewYorker and I used to work at the Trade Center and I believe in the constitution!!! So how would this POLL rate my vote??!!!! Come on CNN!!

    August 18, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. hangemhi

    Does freedom of religion ring a bell, how about seperation of church and state, or anti-discrimination laws. I may not like what you are doing but will defend your right to do it provided it is legal.

    August 18, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Patriot

    The September 11th attackers hoped to start a holy war between Christianity and Islam. When we oppose this mosque, and thereby equate Muslims with terrorists, we are quite literally letting the terrorists win. Al Qaeda started a war with the United States. The United States is continuing to retaliate by striking back at Al Qaeda. That is the response Americans should support. Surrendering our long held value of religious tolerance, even by claiming that it is wrong but constitutionally protected to build a mosque, is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    August 18, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Drew, FL

    Not hard to figure those polls. New Yorkers are "real" Americans. They were on the front lines on 9-11. They understand that Muslims have the constitutional right to put the mosque there, but for many it's too soon. Wounds take time to heal. Doesn't help matters that the GOP recently turned their backs on the first responders.

    This was always a NY issue. Shame on the GOP for using it as a political football. Do the right thing and stand by the first responders.

    August 18, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. larry

    This is the exact point that President Obama made. I'm sure he doesn't like the building of the Islamic Center there but he knows that stopping the American Muslims from building it would violate their constitutional rights. It is too bad that the republicans are not in power because most of them (like the Newt the nut Grinch and others like him on the False News Network) would have no problem with denying select groups of American citizens (Muslims, Asians, Blacks, Jews, Etc.) their constitutional rights.

    August 18, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Don Beal

    President Obama is pretty much in agreement with New Yorkers on this one. They have a right to build it, but it is a very poor idea.

    August 18, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. frag

    Let's see, in the name of Jesus I hit you in the nose. That means all Christians are guilty and I can't build a Christian church anywhere near your house.

    August 18, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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