The prominent Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that 54 percent of eligible Muslim voters said they would vote for Kerry, while 26 percent favored Nader. A sizable 14 percent of Muslim voters said they are still undecided. (Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they voted for President Bush in the 2000 election.)
According to CAIR's survey of 1161 individuals taken this month, 34 percent of respondents said the Democratic Party best represents American Muslim interests, closely followed by the Green Party at 24 percent. Almost one-quarter (22 percent) of the respondents said no party reflected their views.
On other issues, only 11 percent of respondents said they are better off now than they were four years ago. Forty-five percent said they experienced some form of anti-Muslim discrimination or bias in the past year and 87 percent felt less secure since the invasion of Iraq. However, 81 percent said they feel free to practice their faith in America.
When asked to list the most important domestic issue they will use to determine a presidential choice, almost 40 percent of respondents cited civil rights, followed by the economy at 25 percent. More than 90 percent said American policy in the Middle East is the most important international issue.
Muslims from 43 states responded to the survey, with the most responses coming from California (17 percent), Texas (8 percent), Virginia (8 percent), New York (4 percent), Florida (4 percent), Illinois (7 percent), Michigan (5 percent), Ohio (5 percent), Maryland (5 percent), and New Jersey (4 percent).
The two largest ethnic groups listed in the survey were South Asian (37 percent) and those from an Arabic-speaking background (28 percent). Thirty-five percent of respondents said they visit a mosque once a week, while a similar number go to mosques more frequently. Six percent said they do not go to a mosque at all. Almost all of the respondents said they are registered to vote or plan to vote in November.
(All figures are based on responses provided by eligible Muslim voters. Surveys were faxed and e-mailed to Muslim individuals and organizations nationwide.)
"This survey shows that presidential candidates will have to address issues of importance to Muslims if they wish to garner and maintain support in the Islamic community," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad added that Muslims may be swing voters in politically-important states such as Michigan, Ohio and Florida.