Voters oppose mosque plan


ALBANY, New York – A majority of New Yorkers remain opposed to a mosque proposed as part of a planned Islamic cultural centre near ground zero, and the issue will be a factor for many voters this fall, according to a statewide poll released yesterday.The Siena College poll showed 63 per cent of New York voters surveyed oppose the project, with 27 per cent supporting it. That compares with 64 per cent opposed and 28 per cent in favour two weeks earlier, results that are within the polls’ sampling margins.Democrats nationwide, including President Barack Obama, have defended the proposal as protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom. Many Republicans have called it an affront to the memory of those killed in the September 11 attacks.A CNN/Opinion Research poll released last week found that nearly 70 per cent of Americans opposed the mosque plan, while 29 per cent approved.In a new question, the latest poll found that many New Yorkers believe the project is protected by the Constitution, even if they oppose the plan.Nearly two-thirds of voters, 64 per cent, say the developers have a constitutional right to build the mosque. Twenty-eight per cent say they do not.Among those who oppose building the mosque, about half agree that developers have the constitutional right to build it. Twenty-eight per cent of mosque opponents say they do not have that right.Nearly a quarter of voters questioned said the issue would have a major effect on which candidate for governor they support. Thirty-seven percent say it will have some effect, while about 40 per cent of voters say it won’t matter.The poll showed that Republican Carl Paladino, who has taken the hardest line against the project among the candidates, is continuing to gain on Rick Lazio heading into the GOP primary and also gaining on Democrat Andrew Cuomo. Still, Cuomo continues to have twice the support of either Lazio or Paladino. (AP)


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