A new poll released Friday shows a majority of likely voters in New York believe Muslims hoping to open a mosque near Ground Zero should move it elsewhere, yet most also believe developers have a right to build it there.
A Quinnipiac University poll found 57 percent of respondents say building a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is wrong, while 32 percent said it was appropriate. The poll of 751 likely New York state voters, conducted September 16-20, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
By a wide margin, 80 percent to 15 percent, voters say developers have a right to construct the mosque near Ground Zero. But 67 percent say the mosque's backers should voluntarily move it to a different location.
The mosque and Islamic Center planned two blocks north of the World Trade Center site where nearly 2,800 people died at the hands of Muslim terrorists has become an explosive political controversy, both in New York and nationally. President Barack Obama has spoken out in support of the project, while a host of national Republican figures like former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have come out against it. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, has been the project's most passionate defender.
The poll found sharp divisions among Democrats and Republicans on the proposed mosque. By a margin of 50-34 percent, Democrats say the project is appropriate, while by 90-8 percent, Republicans say it's wrong. Sixty-three percent of independent voters say the project is wrong, while 30 percent say it's appropriate.
While the poll found a majority of voters say they have generally favorable views of Islam, voters by a margin of 71-22 percent say the state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, ought to probe the source of funding for the mosque. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for governor, supports the mosque and said he would investigate its funding if presented with an evidence of wrongdoing. His Republican rival, Carl Paladino, opposes the mosque and has actively worked to link Cuomo to it.
A Quinnipiac survey of registered New York voters taken just before the ninth anniversary of the attacks last month found similar results.