The following sample quotations reflect stereotypical views of Arabs and Arab Americans expressed by public opinion polls. Public Opinion Polls From a Poll conducted in 1980 by a private research institution (tables from Slade, Shelly. “The Image of the Arab in America: Analysis of a Poll on American Attitudes.” Middle East Journal 35(2), Spring 1981: 143-162.

arab stereotypes stats table

“Available historical data suggest that a negative image of Arabs existed before the September 11 attacks. A March 1993 Gallup poll, conducted shortly after a terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, showed that just 39% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Arabs, while 32% had an unfavorable opinion and 29% had no opinion. An ABC News poll, conducted during the Persian Gulf crisis in February 1991, found that 43% of Americans said they had a high opinion of Arabs while 41% said they had a low opinion. In that poll, majorities of Americans said the following terms applied to Arabs: "religious" (81%), "terrorists" (59%), "violent" (58%) and "religious fanatics" (56%).”

“Americans Felt Uneasy About Arabs Even Before September 11,” Gallup News Service, September 28, 2001.

“About 27 percent of respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government, and 26 percent said they think that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Twenty-nine percent agreed that undercover law enforcement agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations, in order to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising. About 22 percent said the federal government should profile citizens as potential threats based on the fact that they are Muslim or have Middle Eastern heritage. In all, about 44 percent said they believe that some curtailment of civil liberties is necessary for Muslim Americans.”

“Fear factor: 44 percent of Americans queried in Cornell national poll favor curtailing some liberties for Muslim Americans,” The Media and Society Research Group, in Cornell's Department of Communication, December 17, 2004.

According to a 2005 Gallup Poll of American Households, when asked what they most admire about Muslim societies, the most frequent response was “nothing.”

“Americans’ views of the Islamic world,” Gallup Poll News Service, February 8, 2006. According to a 2006 USA Today/Gallup, 44% of Americans say that Muslims are too extreme in their religious beliefs. Nearly one quarter of Americans, 22%, say they would not want a Muslim as a neighbor. Less than half believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the United States.”

“Anti-Muslim sentiment fairly commonplace,” Gallup Poll News Service, August 10, 2006.