Shibley Telhami writes: Something remarkable has happened in the middle of an American presidential campaign noted for its inflammatory rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, and marred by horrific mass violence perpetrated on American soil in the name of Islam: American public attitudes toward the Muslim people and the Muslim religion have not worsened — in fact they have become progressively more favorable, even after the Orlando shooting. That’s what two new polls show, one taken two weeks before Orlando, the other two weeks after, to be released at the Brookings Institution on Monday.
Comparing the results of three University of Maryland national polls — all fielded by Neilson Scarborough — taken in November 2015, in May 2016 and in June 2016 (after the June 12th Orlando shooting), the trends are surprising. Asked about their views of the Muslim people, respondents who expressed favorable views went from 53 percent in November 2015, to 58 percent in May 2016, to 62 percent in June 2016. At the same time, favorable views of Islam went from 37 percent, to 42 percent, to 44 percent over the same period — still under half, but with marked improvement over a period of seven months. [Continue reading…]