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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 08/31/2011

Pollwatchers: Perry’s rise, Libya after Gadhafi, job fears and Muslim assimilation

Perry tackling GOP field – Texas Gov. Rick Perry is on a roll. A new Quinnipiac poll of registered Republicans and GOP-leaning independents finds Perry leading the pack for the Republican nominations by 24 percent to 18 percent for Mitt Romney, his closest rival. That’s the third national poll to show Perry ahead since he announced his candidacy three weeks ago. What makes his ascendance all the more impressive (but also perhaps shaky) is the fact that he is not all that well known among Republicans overall. More than half — 51 percent in the Quinnipiac poll — say they haven’t heard enough to rate him favorably or unfavorably. In comparison, only 28 percent say so about Romney. That could cut two ways for Perry. At the moment, all registered voters split 22 to 23 percent in their favorable and unfavorable ratings with 55 percent not able to rate. That leaves a lot of room for the opposition – President Obama or his GOP opponents – to define him.

Libya after Gadhafi – The outlook for Libya’s immediate future is bleak, according to the U.S. public. Fully two-thirds think there will be widespread violence similar to what happened in Iraq, and 62 percent are worried about what lies ahead, according to a CNN poll released Tuesday. But those fears don’t translate into a desire for the U.S. to pitch in. Nearly three-quarters oppose U.S. financial assistance for rebuilding and two-thirds think the people of Libya should form a civil government without assistance from the United States. A 54 percent majority lacks confidence that “a stable democratic government will be established in Libya.” That’s well below the 67 percent confidence for a stable democratic Iraq in December 2003 in the wake of the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Job fears spike – President Obama’s new jobs plan, to be unveiled next week, can’t come soon enough for a worried public. In a Gallup poll released Wednesday, three in 10 say they are worried about being laid off. That almost matches the high point for job fears of 31 percent in August 2009. Gallup finds similarly high-level fear for cutbacks in hours and reduced wages, 30 and 33 percent each. Even more – 44 percent – are worried about cuts in benefits.

Muslim American assimilation – A 51 percent majority of all Americans think that Muslims in America want to be distinct from American customs and culture. But Muslim Americans themselves take the exact opposite view: 56 percent say most Muslims who come to the United States want to adopt American customs. In the new survey of American Muslims from the Pew Research Center, this view is held by native-born and foreign-born Muslims alike. The desire for assimilation may be grounded in the fact that Muslims readily embrace a modern society. By more than 2 to 1, Muslim Americans say there is no conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.

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By  |  11:51 AM ET, 08/31/2011

Categories:  GOP nomination, Economy

 
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