As Americans go to the polls on Tuesday to elect the next President, along with a host of House and Senate members, a survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says that 68% of Muslims in the US will vote for the incumbent President Barack Obama.
The survey, with a sample size of 500 registered Muslim voters nationwide, says that 7% of the respondents said they would vote for the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The CAIR survey also says 25% of voters are still undecided.
The US Religious Census of 2010, released this year by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, says that in 2010, Muslims made up nearly one percent of the population in the US.
The states with sizeable Muslim populations include Michigan, Illinois, New York and New Jersey amongst others.
Unemployment remains at 7.9% in the country, and while new jobs have been added to the US economy, unemployment and the effects of the recession remain core issues for in the US. These issues, according to the CAIR survey, remain the topmost issues for Muslim voters too.
Then why Barack Obama?
Robert McCaw, the Government Affairs Coordinator at CAIR, says that it may not just be about Mitt Romney, but the Republican Party as a whole.
“In 2000, 90% of Muslims had voted for George Bush, it’s because he had strong outreach to the Muslim community, in addition to other Republican candidates. We see that in this election, the Romney campaign has not done a good job in reaching out to the Muslim voters and also his party, at the federal and state level have adopted 73 anti-Muslim, anti-foreign law bills, targeting Muslims and the practise of their faith.”
McCaw says these anti-foreign and anti-Sharia bills sponsored by the Republican party have had a negative impact on the outlook of Muslim voters. Whether that negative impact is felt on Election Day will only be apparent when the polls close.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2012.