Despite the fact that favorable views of Islam have declined since 2005 — a plurality of Americans now have a negative opinion — views of Islam and violence have not changed in the past year. A plurality of Americans (42%) say Islam does not encourage violence more than other religions; a little more than a third (35%) say it does. In March 2002, a majority (51%) said Islam does not encourage violence more than other religions, but by the next year (July 2003) the view that Islam was more violent was held by a plurality (44%). Opinions about whether the Muslim religion encourages violence have continued to be mixed since then. In no political or demographic group does a majority believe Islam encourages violence, but by a 47%-to-38% margin, more Republicans say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. By a two-to-one margin, Democrats do not believe Islam is more likely to encourage violence (50% to 24%), while independents are evenly divided (38% to 38%). Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.