There’s been a lot of controversy over the Cordoba House, better known as “The Ground Zero Mosque.” Amidst that controversy there have been a number of polls that attempted to give a picture of whether New Yorkers were in support of, or against, the construction of the Muslim center, which is in such alarming proximity to the site of the greatest terrorist attack ever on American soil.
First–all the way back in June–we read that polls found Manhattanites to be in favor of the mosque, while residents of the outer boroughs were mostly against it. Staten Island, according to data, was most opposed to the mosque of the five boroughs. Taken as a whole, though, New York City was against the construction of the mosque, the polls said.
Then there was the Rasmussen Report, which surveyed voters from all over the country. That poll found that only 20% of Americans supported the mosque. The media had a field day with that story. But the headlines were misleading: if you read the report, you would have found that only 20% of participants in the survey were following the story “very closely.” I could be reading this wrong, but what that says to me is: 80% of the people polled for this survey didn’t really know what they were talking about.
The Siena Research Institute conducted its own poll last week, and focused on New York State residents. The message was the same as Rasmussen’s: a small minority supported the construction of a Muslim Center at Park Place. This poll drew its data from 788 New York State residents from August 9-16. But the interesting part of the Siena poll was that a majority of people surveyed, even those in opposition to the mosque, recognized the constitutional right to build it.
So, to review: the country as a whole overwhelmingly opposes the Muslim Center at Ground Zero. The state of New York opposes it. Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn oppose it, and Manhattan favors it. These findings led Hendrik Hertzberg, writing for The New Yorker, to comment that “opposition [to the mosque] is roughly proportional to distance.” Meaning, I guess, that the mosque’s most venomous opponents live in Alaska.
After reading all these polls and hearing comments and opinions and judgments from every major media outlet, newspaper, pundit, blogger, and politician, I decided to hear for myself what New Yorkers thought of the mosque. And so, this morning, I took the subway to Ground Zero and asked them.*
*This video includes at least one clip from every single person I spoke to.
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