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Poll: U.S. split on Muslim allies

  • Story Highlights
  • President Obama on Monday called the Muslim nation of Turkey "a critical ally"
  • Poll shows 51 percent believe the United States should trust Muslim allies
  • Most Americans polled looked favorably upon Turkey
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By Mark Preston
CNN Political Editor
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama stood before Turkey's parliament on Monday and told lawmakers that the Muslim nation is "a critical ally," but a new poll shows Americans are split about the level of trust the United States should have with Muslim allies.

A new poll shows 61 percent of Americans look favorably upon Turkey, which Obama called "a critical ally."

A new poll shows 61 percent of Americans look favorably upon Turkey, which Obama called "a critical ally."

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Monday shows that 51 percent of Americans believe the United States should trust Muslim allies the same as any other ally, but 48 percent said the United States should trust Muslim allies less.

The poll was released as Obama spent the day in Turkey, a NATO ally and the first Muslim country the president has visited since being sworn into office in January.

Despite some concerns about Muslim allies in general, Americans have a favorable view of Turkey. The poll showed that 61 percent of Americans looked favorably upon Turkey, while 34 percent had an unfavorable opinion of that country.

"U.S. relations with Turkey were strained during the Bush era, when the Turks refused to let U.S. troops invade Iraq from Turkish territory, and that drove Turkey's favorable rating below 50 percent," said CNN polling director Keating Holland. "It looks like some Americans have either forgiven or forgotten what happened in 2003."

In Obama's address to Turkish lawmakers, he emphasized that the "United States is not at war with Islam" and noted that the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world is much broader than "opposition to al Qaeda."

"We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect," Obama said. "We will listen carefully, bridge misunderstanding and seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. I know, because I am one of them." Video Watch Obama call Turkey an ally »


Obama's deceased father, from Kenya, was Muslim.

The CNN/ORC Poll of 1,023 adult Americans was conducted from April 3 through April 5 and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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