Nearly a quarter of Americans ― 22 percent ― either don’t know or don’t believe that U.S. Muslims are granted the same constitutional protections as other citizens. Roughly 20 percent don’t know or don’t think that atheists are protected under the First Amendment.
These are among the findings of a new study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, released ahead of the Sept. 17 Constitution Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s signing in 1787.
The survey asked respondents whether they thought it was accurate to say that U.S. citizens who are Muslims have the same rights as all other citizens. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed said it was very accurate or somewhat accurate, while 18 percent said it was very or somewhat inaccurate. Four percent said they didn’t know.
On the same question about U.S. atheists, 79 percent said it was very accurate or somewhat accurate, and 15 percent said it was very or somewhat inaccurate. Five percent said they didn’t know.
The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey polled 1,013 U.S. adults about the government, the First Amendment and constitutional protections. This year marked the first time the survey included the questions about Muslims and atheists. The survey didn’t ask respondents about their knowledge of protections granted to Christians or other religious groups.