How Many Republican Voters Agree With Ben Carson's Islamophobia?
Credit: DonkeyHotey
September 22, 2015

Greg Sargent with the latest on Ben Carson's foray into outright Islamophobia. This really is crazy, especially when you consider how many American Christian cults teach their initiates that lying in the service of bringing a Christian government into power is A-OK!

Ben Carson has already stoked outrage with his suggestion that he wouldn’t want to see a Muslim president and that Islam is not consistent with the Constitution. But it appears he may only just be getting started.

Glenn Kessler has a nice catch: In a follow up interview, Carson made the claim that “Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.” As Kessler explains, this is a distortion of the Koran that is trafficked in by anti-Muslim diehards, with the “apparent aim of painting all Muslims as untrustworthy.”

Meanwhile, Carson’s campaign manager tells the Huffington Post: “I don’t think there’s any other religion that says that people of other religions have to be killed.”

So what happens when pollsters ask Republican voters whether they agree with Carson’s sentiments?Two recent polls suggest many of them might be favorably disposed towards Carson’s views. A Pew Research survey from last year found that Republicans and GOP-leaning independents view Muslims significantly more negatively than they see other religious groups.Meanwhile, the New York Times reports this morning: “A full 60 percent of Republicans said they viewed Islam unfavorably in a 2013 New York Times-CBS poll.”The Times report also notes that these tendencies are worrying to Republicans, particularly those “who are determined to reorient the party to win in a changing country.” The story adds: “the debate over Islam is particularly worrisome for Republicans because it so vividly highlights the vacuum that has been created by the absence of a unifying leader who can temper the impulses of the rank-and-file.”

I would add that we’ve already seen this in the case of Donald Trump and immigration. After Trump opined that Mexican immigrants were drug dealers and rapists, some worried he would damage the GOP brand among Latinos. But a national poll subsequently showed that a majority of Republicans agreed with Trump’s general sentiments. Trump has also vowed to deport the 11 millions, and another national poll found a large majority of Republicans think the focus of immigration policy should be on securing the border and “deporting those already here.” Another poll showed three-fourths of Trump’s supporters in Iowa want mass deportations.

To be clear, I hope Republican voters overwhelmingly reject Carson’s views. As I’ve repeatedly written, it’s important to remember that a lot of GOP votersdon’t share the crudest Trump-like sentiments and view immigration in a significantly more nuanced way than he does. Hopefully we’ll see the same in Carson’s case. But if pollsters do test Carson’s views — as they did with Trump’s — you could see sizable percentages of GOP voters agreeing with them. And that could produce a whole new round of hand-wringing from GOP leaders and more calls for the “responsible” GOP candidates to denounce Carson.

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