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. a in austin

    The world is watching this crazy situation and probably wondering what's up with the hypocrosy of some those who want to "scare" everyone. People like Palin, Beck, etc. have learned the crazier the statement, the more money they make! Where is the anger for the 9/11 first responders whose heroic tactics have now left them in poor health and no help? First responders were not given money like the victim's families. They are suffering and no one cares any more!!!

    August 18, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Michael - New York City

    So how many of the people polled were actually from New York City? Upstate and New York City are two different worlds. I live in the City and am totally fine with the mosque.

    August 18, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    So which should we follow – the majority's emotional or prejudice motivations or the Laws of our US Constitution of which all our liberties and our country itself is based?

    That's a pretty easy choice – even for those with lizard brains.

    August 18, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. street smart

    Constitutionally it is the right thing to do, no 2 ways about it. Its just to scarey for New Yorkers to feel safe about it. I mean look at it, how many times has the World Trade Ctr been attacked? Can you blame the NYC population for what theyre feeling right now? How about a news story where some street reporter interviews people on the streets of NY and ask them what the govt would have to do to make them feel safe about a mosque near ground Zero. It was he US govt under Dubya that failed the USA and New York in particular when he ignored the warnings of an imminent Alqueda attack on US soil from terrorist expert, Richard Clark. Ground Zero was Dubyas screw up and it is now the responsibility of the US govt to make the Amer people, particularly New Yorkers to find a way to make us as a nation feel safe enough, so we can be free enough, to guarantee everyone the right to worship. That is the American way

    August 18, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Angry American

    I had the constitutional right to put up a 12 x 14 foot shed on my property. However, I found out I have to get approval from my local Indian Tribe–they have the ability to stop construction on my property as it may be to close to artifacts, elderberry bushes etc. and it may be 'disrespectful' to the tribes past. I also have to PAY the tribe to let me know if I have their blessing and I have to get into a written contract with them as well. So, using the same parameters, screw the mosque.

    Just had to vent.

    August 18, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Caeser

    The Germans preserved Dachau,to their own shame.
    Perhaps a Mosque dedicated to peace could serve a similar purpose.

    August 18, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Barbara Mannix

    One of your reporters just 5 minutes ago said that the mosque will be at the twin towers site. WRONG – it will be 2 blocks ago and news commentators and reporters who say "at the site of" just fuel the fire>

    August 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. ja

    therefore they are hypocrits, people of all faiths have waged war and most unjust, since the begining of time, america hung black folk after church not just short of my life time, that is not 60 yet

    August 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Naqib

    Looks like about the same % as rest of the country.
    Most people do believe they have a right to build... I don't anyone who argues that... I guess their question is more should they build it. As a hand in friendship type of thing as the owners have stated... it seems that idea isn't really holding since it's cause such an up-roar. If it were me I think I would just move it a little farther away especially since the city is offering property.
    My bet is they reconsider and move it... but that it will be built... just not in that spot. Or... they want there to be controversy... which can be used as an Anti-Americian propoganda tool in the middle east.

    August 18, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. DJ

    I wonder how the question was presented?

    August 18, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Tall Ed

    So New Yorkers agree with Obama? They believe that there is a Protected Right build the community center, but they don't necessarily agree with it from a personal stand-point.

    Case closed Move On!

    August 18, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Robert J

    Amazing. Could it be real people think like real people as in "We the People" and not like the Boehners, Cantors, and Gingeriches etc with their childish minds and bigotry? A wise person said "Islam didn't attack America – AlQuida did" – Not rocket science to me – of courseI'm not a bigot or a Republican!

    August 18, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. keelak

    When Obama says on one day that Muslims have a constitutional right to build this religious center and the next day adds: "but that doesn't mean they should," he is labelled "incoherent."

    When 2 out of 3 New Yorkers recognize the constitutional right to build this facility but still oppose it – probably using words along the lines of: "but that doesn't mean they should" – does this mean 2 out of 3 New Yorkers are also "incoherent?"

    August 18, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. roro

    Having the right to build the mosque in that location doesn't mean they should. I believe it shows an insensitivity to the memory of the people who lost their lives on 9/11.

    August 18, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. rob


    No one, especially Republican leaders question the right of freedom of religion. The Dems and the liberal media are the ones trying to politicize it by accusing intollerance or bigotry of the people who oppose the building as long as they are Republicans.

    The only ones showing insensitivity here are the builders. Their stated goal of bridge building and interfaith understanding is having the opposit effect. It will only garner ill feelings with the community in New York and the country as a whole. They need to build it else where to show understanding and empathy,

    August 18, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. Robin in SC

    This SC girl agrees with New Yorkers! Of course they have the constitutional right to build the mosque wherever they choose as long as they abide by building/zoning laws, but as Obama said, the wisdom of a decision to build at Ground Zero is questionable and brings the true purpose of the mosque into question. If the stated purpose of the "community center" is valid, one would think Muslim leadership would want the support of the community rather than almost universal opposition of the people. Non-Muslims recognize the rights of Muslims, but Muslims need to recognize the sensitivity of this issue and find an alternative in the name of co-existence. Just because something is legal and constitutional doesn't mean it's right...DO THE RIGHT THING and put your community center/mosque somewhere else!

    August 18, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Dave

    Most people know that they have a right to build it but it's in extremely poor taste and judgement.

    August 18, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Okay. New Yorkers recognize that they have aconstitutional right to build the COMMUNITY CENTER,but they oppose it on principle and mistaken sentiment.

    The sign the lady is holding up should serve to remind us to PLEASE stop judging the whole based on the actions of a few.

    Does anyone recall reading about the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition? Catholic Church? Please people, at least in this case, let reason prevail. Maybe this is the Muslim's way of letting the world know that Muslims in general DEPLORED this act of violence committed against us.

    We've planted flowers where WE have committed atrocities before. This could be their flower to us. Let it bloom, and let it go.

    August 18, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. John N Florida

    New Yorkers recognize the single point the President was trying to make for the rest of us; the Imam is within his Constitutional Rights.
    That's the ONLY point Obama was trying to make.
    For the Republicans to try and make this an issue for their benefit just shows how little they really have as far as a plan to help America.
    Frankly, I don't want to have any thing to do with BUSH III, the Republican Plan for the Future!?
    We saw what their 'unpaid for' tax cuts, Wars, de-Regulation, and Part 'D' accomplished. All of those things occurred during their watch (2001 thru 2004), prior to the Democrats taking control of the Congress in 2006.

    After all their squalling about Obama's interference with business, they were/are the first ones screaming at Obama for allowing BP to handle that company's Gulf Disaster.

    Cry Babies are just that. No matter what you do, they still cry. Somebody needs to hand Boehner, et al. a great big towel for their tears.
    NOBODY should return control of anything to their inept leadership.

    August 18, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. malabar

    does any1 knw why libs are suddenly all for freedom of religion? so they can turn around and bash Muslims for how they treat women and gays? so they can drop the act and openly align themselves with misogynysts and homophobes? hmm. . . whats their angle. . .

    August 18, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. K M

    So 30% of NYS voters don't believe in freedom of religion? Sad.

    August 18, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This shows that people recognize the difference between legal and emotional. I would hope that the people who would like to build this Islamic place understand that there is no legal obligation to do anything than follow the rules, but there is a need to UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE FEEL in this case. I don't visit Manhatten all that often and don't care where it is built, but the people who want it need to understand those feelings of people that live there.

    August 18, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    The "Ground Zero Mosque" is the latest version of "Death Panels" – a tool used by Conservatives to scare the sheep into submission. See also The Might XMen/Muslim Extremists of Guantanamo that no American prison can possibly hold because of their incredible Super Muslim powers.

    August 18, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. John Travis

    Freedom of religion is the of the things that make America special.
    Our founding fathers were were wise when they made it a rite.
    when we say with the laws and the spirt of what makes this country so
    special in the world we never go wong.
    But when we drift from it we did as in 1942. when the U.S inturned
    Americans of Japanese heritage its a disaster.
    I,m sure if they took a pool then most people in this county were for it
    but now we know how wrong it was. i knew people that died 9/11
    and we must nevr forget what happend. But to throw out the best thing we stand for is not the answer.

    August 18, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Marcus

    Just to make it clear:
    Constitutional rights are not 'popularity' issues.
    At the turn of the XIX Century to the XX many Americans had their Constitutional rights overturned, vacated and negated because of the will of the majority – FACT.
    And people seems to have not learned the lesson.

    August 18, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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