More Muslim Americans believe they are thriving, poll says

Tue Aug 2, 2011 11:45am EDT
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By Wendell Marsh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Muslim Americans are now more optimistic about their lives than any other major American faith group as their economic well-being improves and they feel more politically enfranchised.

A Gallup study released on Tuesday found 60 percent of Muslim Americans surveyed reported they were "thriving", slightly higher than for Americans of any other religion except for Jews, who edged them out of the top spot by one percentage point.

Pollsters noted in particular the rapid surge in positive sentiment among Muslim Americans. The percentage of Muslims who were "thriving" grew by 19 points since 2008, double that of any other major faith group.

"Muslim Americans are happier and more optimistic today than at the end of 2008," Dalia Mogahed, director of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, told Reuters by telephone.

"Muslim Americans today feel a greater sense of belonging in their country," she added. Only three percent of Muslim Americans said they were suffering, while 37 percent said they were struggling.

Authors of the study said they attributed the change in outlook to improved economic conditions and a sense of more political enfranchisement since the election of President Barack Obama, a Christian with Muslim family roots who has reached out to Muslim communities worldwide.

The report said Obama's approval rating among Muslim Americans was 80 percent, and that 46 percent, or a plurality, of Muslim Americans identified as Democrats, compared to only 9 percent who identified as Republicans.

"They may see Obama as promoting policies that are more in keeping with their own political views than those of former President George W. Bush," the report said.   Continued...

<p>An American flag hangs on a car outside the American Muslim Society mosque in Detroit, Michigan April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>