Poll: Republicans more likely than Dems to approve of Muslim hearing

More Republicans than Democrats believe Rep. Pete King's (R-N.Y.) hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims are appropriate, a new poll found.

According to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, 40 percent of Democrats consider the hearings appropriate, compared to 69 percent of Republicans. And 49 percent of Democrats think the hearings are inappropriate, compared to 23 percent of Republicans. Gallup also found that 51 percent of independents think the hearings are appropriate and 49 percent do not.

The poll found that a majority believe Muslim Americans are supportive of the U.S., with 53 percent saying they are supportive, while 32 percent said they are not.

King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, began hearings Thursday examining if Muslim Americans are being radicalized by outside terrorist groups like al Qaeda. The hearings have received widespread criticism from civil-liberty groups and Democratic lawmakers.

King defended the hearings; telling The Hill on Tuesday: "There’s a cause of this radicalization in the Muslim American community that is a real threat to the United States. The only way we can counter it is by letting the public know about it and by encouraging the Muslim American community to speak out against it."

King said he has received death threats and has had to have police protection.

But, in spite of the criticism from lawmakers and the threats, King has proceeded with the hearings.

“I don’t ever want it on my conscience that if another attack comes, I wake up the next morning and say, ‘I backed down to political correctness, I backed down to The Washington Post, or the left-wing New York Times, because I was afraid of political retribution,' " King said on MSNBC earlier this week. "I’m going to do what I have to do."