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A Change in Attitudes Toward Muslims? A Bayesian Investigation of Pre and Post 9/11 Public Opinion
Unformatted Document Text:  A Change in Attitudes Toward Muslims? A Bayesian Investigation of Pre and Post 9/11 Public Opinion ∗ Kerem Ozan Kalkan † and Yu-Sung Su ‡ March 19, 2008 Abstract The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks affected many aspects of the Americanlandscape by stimulating a sense of threat and feelings of anxiety among people.Even though the tolerance in contemporary America has increased marginally,the terrorist attacks, and the level of perceived threat caused a sharp declinein positive evaluations of minorities. In this paper, we ask a simple question:To what extent does this mood of the post 9/11 period influence affect towardMuslims? Did the structure explaining Muslim affect change? Our answer issimply no. By using the Pew datasets conducted both before and after the9/11 terrorist attacks, we show that the attitudes toward Muslims have notchanged at all over time. Americans’ favorability of Muslims has been stable,and negative throughout the period covering the pre and post 9/11 period.The structure of affect toward Muslims remains the same as well. We show ina Bayesian analysis that ethnocentrism has been the principal determinant ofaffect toward Muslims. That is, the best predictor of attitudes toward Muslimshas been attitudes toward other minority groups, like Jews and atheists, inboth the pre and post 9/11 periods. ∗ Prepared for delivery at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, Il., April 2–5, 2008. Copyright by the Midwest Political Science Association. † Ph.D candidate of University of Maryland, College Park. E-mail: ## email not listed ## ‡ Ph.D candidate of the Graduate Center, City University of New York. E-mail: ## email not listed ## 1

Authors: Kalkan, Kerem. and Su, Yu-Sung.
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A Change in Attitudes Toward Muslims? A
Bayesian Investigation of Pre and Post 9/11 Public
Opinion
Kerem Ozan Kalkan
and Yu-Sung Su
March 19, 2008
Abstract
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks affected many aspects of the American
landscape by stimulating a sense of threat and feelings of anxiety among people.
Even though the tolerance in contemporary America has increased marginally,
the terrorist attacks, and the level of perceived threat caused a sharp decline
in positive evaluations of minorities. In this paper, we ask a simple question:
To what extent does this mood of the post 9/11 period influence affect toward
Muslims? Did the structure explaining Muslim affect change? Our answer is
simply no. By using the Pew datasets conducted both before and after the
9/11 terrorist attacks, we show that the attitudes toward Muslims have not
changed at all over time. Americans’ favorability of Muslims has been stable,
and negative throughout the period covering the pre and post 9/11 period.
The structure of affect toward Muslims remains the same as well. We show in
a Bayesian analysis that ethnocentrism has been the principal determinant of
affect toward Muslims. That is, the best predictor of attitudes toward Muslims
has been attitudes toward other minority groups, like Jews and atheists, in
both the pre and post 9/11 periods.
Prepared for delivery at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association,
Chicago, Il., April 2–5, 2008. Copyright by the Midwest Political Science Association.
Ph.D candidate of University of Maryland, College Park. E-mail: ## email not listed ##
Ph.D candidate of the Graduate Center,
City University of New York.
E-mail:
1


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