Dr. Ben Carson has been criticized for saying he would oppose a Muslim running for president — but a new poll reveals that more than half of all U.S. voters agree.
The telephone survey by Rasmussen Reports found that 51 percent of likely U.S. voters would not personally be willing to vote for a Muslim president.
Only 28 percent say they would support a Muslim in the White House and 20 percent are undecided.
Fifty-two percent say most of their family, friends and co-workers also would not be willing to vote for a Muslim president, with only 15 percent saying they would, and 32 percent not sure.
By comparison, 78 percent said they could vote for a black president after Barack Obama won enough delegates to be the Democratic nominee in 2008.
According to the poll, Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats — 73 percent to 35 percent — to say they would not personally vote for a Muslim to be U.S. president.
And a plurality — 48 percent — of voters not affiliated with either major party agrees.
"The large number of undecideds suggests that many voters are unwilling to reveal their opinion on what is seen as a controversial topic," Rasmussen said.
In addition, those under 40 are more supportive of a Muslim president than their elders are, but even younger voters don't have much confidence in their family, friends and relatives to agree, Rasmussen said.
As well, whites are much less likely to say they would vote for a Muslim president than are blacks and other minority voters.
Fifty-seven percent of whites say their family, friends and relatives would not vote to put a Muslim in the White House, but just 40 percent of blacks and 41 percent of other minority voters agree.
Last Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Carson said: "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that. If [a president's faith is] inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter."
But while he's been under fire from Islamic groups, Democrats, and some key Republicans, the fallout has actually helped his campaign.
On Wednesday, Armstrong Williams, the retired neurosurgeon's campaign adviser, told Newsmax TV
that Carson's campaign coffers are seeing an increase in donations following his statement.
"The response is overwhelming," Williams said
to Dennis Michael Lynch, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show."
The Rasmussen poll also found 71 percent of Americans think political correctness is a problem in America today. As well, 73 percent think Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.
And in questions posed by Rasmussen about press coverage of politicians:
Seventy-five percent of voters believe when it comes to covering prospective presidential candidates, the media is more interested in creating controversies about them than it is in reporting where they stand on the issues.
And 76 percent of Republicans — and 71 percent of all voters — think most reporters, when covering a political campaign, try to help the candidate they want to win.
The survey of 1,000 was conducted on Sept. 22 to 23, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
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