Poll: Muslim-Americans face the most discrimination among ethnic/religious groups

A fascinating little survey on discrimination, or rather perceptions of discrimination, from YouGov. African-Americans not even in the top three, huh?


YouGov used that as a springboard to ask about hate-crime legislation and found broad support. Which is interesting because, as Andy Levy points out, when you look at the FBI’s most recent stats on hate crimes, it’s not Muslim- or Arab-Americans who top the victim lists. Here’s the breakdown of religious hate crimes:

60.3 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
13.7 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
6.1 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
4.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
3.8 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
0.6 percent were victims of anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
11.2 percent were victims of bias against other religions (anti-other religion).

Can’t extrapolate from that to conclude that Jews face more discrimination generally than Muslims do — “discrimination” includes a lot more than just hate crimes — but it’s interesting to see Jews so far down the list of perceptions of discrimination up above.

Spend some time with YouGov’s crosstabs if you can spare it as there are lots of interesting data points worth mining. The partisan divide on questions of whether particular groups suffer discrimination is alone worth the effort. Here’s how it shakes out when people are asked how much discrimination African-Americans face:


Eighty-two percent of Democrats say a “great deal” or a “fair amount.” Among Republicans it’s 39 percent. Indies are somewhere in the middle. Discrimination against Mexican-Americans:


Dems are at 80 percent on great deal/fair amount while GOPers are at 45. Indies, again, are in the middle.

The results for discrimination against women, which contain some intriguing footnotes:


One footnote is that Democrats are actually more likely than women themselves to say there’s a great deal/fair amount of discrimination against women. Overall, women split 17/39 on that, with another 44 percent saying there’s “not much” gender discrimination or none at all. (Fifty-five percent of men see not much or no discrimination against women.) Another footnote is that blacks are far more likely than other racial groups to perceive a great deal or a fair amount of discrimination against women. Whites reach 45 percent on that question while Latinos reach 44 percent. Blacks reach 80 percent. Blacks are also quite a bit more likely to say that gays face a great deal or fair amount of discrimination than whites or Latinos are. Apparently, with discrimination so much a part of their experience in America, they’re more likely to perceive forms of it directed at other groups too.

Democrats are usually more likely than Republicans are to see discrimination against groups — but not always. Here are the numbers for discrimination against Christians:


Republicans are more likely to say that Christians face considerable discrimination than African-Americans do. Interestingly, this is one case where blacks themselves, despite being overwhelmingly Christian, are no more likely to perceive discrimination against a particular group than whites or Latinos are. Just 42 percent see a great deal/fair amount of discrimination against Christians, the same number as Latinos who say so. Among whites, 36 percent say so.

When you ask about discrimination against Jewish Americans, the partisan differences fade. But the age differences are striking:


The older the group, the more likely they are to see anti-Jewish sentiment. Presumably that’s an artifact of living through World War II and the Holocaust and/or remembering when “polite” anti-semitism in hiring and at country clubs was more socially tolerated. There’s a racial split on this as well. Fifty-two percent of blacks and 50 percent of Latinos see considerable discrimination against Jews. Just 40 percent of whites do, and of that 40 percent, just eight percent see a “great deal.”

Finally we get to Muslim-Americans. There’s widespread support for the idea that they face discrimination — less so among Republicans and conservatives, but even those groups are at 60 percent or better.


Note the age gap. A heavy majority of all groups, including seniors, see considerable discrimination against Muslims, but fully 50 percent of young adults see a “great deal.” That’s a result, I assume of growing up in the post-9/11 age. YouGov didn’t stop there, though: They also asked people whether Islam is more likely to encourage violence among its adherents. (A) stands for yes, (B) stands for no.


The Republican numbers pop out but the Democratic number is quietly interesting too. Forty-one percent is no small minority among a party led by a guy whose counterterror policy these days begins with the idea that ISIS is not Islamic. The age numbers are also amazing. Growing up in a post-9/11 age, you might think, might predispose kids bombarded with news about Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the jihadi Thunderdome in Syria that Islam has a problem with radicalization. Nope. Just the opposite: Young adults are much less likely than their elders to think that Islam encourages violence. Maybe that’s a function of their left-leaning tilt generally or maybe it’s the consistency of the “Islam means peace” message from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. Whatever the answer, it’s quite a split.