Friday, February 27, 2015

Correcting the Record

The other day I cited a Pew poll showing a very high level of tolerance of Islam in France. Recently, however, I began reading Laurent Bouvet's interesting (and controversial) new book L'insécurité culturelle, which cites an IPSOS poll astonishingly at odds with the Pew findings. Indeed, whereas Pew suggests that 72% of the French have a "favorable" attitude toward Islam, IPSOS reports that 74% believe that Islam is "not compatible" with the values of French society. In short, the results are mirror images of each other.

So I did a little further digging, and it seems that there is substantial evidence in favor of the pessimistic conclusions of IPSOS:

Pour établir ce bilan, la CNCDH s’est basée sur les résultats de trois études qualitatives commandées au Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), à TNS Sofres et au Cevipof (Centre de recherches politiques de Sciences Po). Celle du CSA s’est déroulée en décembre 2012 auprès de 1 029 personnes et celle de TNS Sofres en janvier 2013 sous la forme d’entretiens semi-individuels semi-directifs avec 38 personnes. L’étude du Cevipof a permis d’analyser les résultats obtenus par le CSA sur plusieurs années.

L’ensemble de leurs conclusions ont permis de faire un constat bien morose car ils révèlent une forte augmentation de l’intolérance envers les musulmans. Seules 22 % des personnes interrogées disent avoir une opinion positive de l’islam (contre 29 % en 2011) et 55 % estiment qu’il ne faut pas faciliter l’exercice du culte musulman en France (+ 7 % par rapport à 2011).

Les résultats montrent également que les pratiques religieuses des musulmans comme le Ramadan ou le port du voile sont de moins en moins tolérées. Cette perception négative gagne même du terrain chez les diplômés du supérieur, généralement plus tolérants. Ainsi, en 2012, 58 % d’entre eux se déclarent critiques vis-à-vis de telles pratiques, là où ils n’étaient que 34 % il y a trois ans. Les femmes sont également de plus en plus critiques vis-à-vis des pratiques musulmanes (59 % en 2012, contre 42 % en 2009).
I am sorry to have to make this correction, as I had found the Pew results quite encouraging. I don't know why their findings are so wildly different from these numerous other polls. But I feel compelled to correct the record. I have written to Pew for comment but have thus far received no reply.


bernard said...

CSA n CSA = ɸ !!!

brings back memories, doesn't it?

CSA: a polling company originally founded by some excellent pollsters and political analysts who used to be PSU in the late sixties to early seventies.....

bernard said...

On the disconnect, a precise wording of questions asked would perhaps shed some light. 101 polling says the precise wording of questions matter a lot as well as the environment of other questions asked.

FrédéricLN said...

Nice post, congratulations! The Pew question was about "muslims" (people), Ipsos one is about "islam" (religion). The summary might be: the French as a whole praise muslims as soon as they show distance from islam. Moreover, I guess polls would get the same kind of results with Catholics Vs. the Catholic Church (but the percentages are sharper re. islam).

"I know it sounds absurd", but the current state of mind in France regarding common issues sounds quite often like that — maybe also about Greece, about Europe, about China,…

Something like an overall difficulty to find our place, as a national community, among other communities with their respective roots, values and aims.

Mitch Guthman said...

I think Bernard is right that the devil is in the details. The Pew poll is definitely an outlier. I would be interested in hearing an explanation from them.

On the other hand, I think it's also true that having a good opinion about Islam in general isn't inconsistent with the case that a religion that apparently demands public displays of affiliation is incompatible with a society that very strongly discourages such activities.