Islam-OPED: Poll Shows Muslim Voters Undecided About White House Pick

Feb 01, 2008, 00:00 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being
 issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations:
     By Ibrahim Hooper
     Ibrahim Hooper is strategic communications director for the
 Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's
 largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be contacted at and a photo is available at:
     Many religious or ethnic minority groups are considered to be in one
 political camp or the other. But a recent survey of American Muslim voters
 shows they are largely undecided about their choice for president in the
 November elections.
     SEE: American Muslim Voters and the 2008 Election
     The results of that national survey, commissioned by the
 Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also show a
 family-oriented, highly-educated and diverse group of voters who condemn
 terrorism and believe anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is a serious
     When contacted late last year by an independent polling firm, a random
 sample of 1,000 Muslim voters said they are:
     -- Young: More than three-fourths (78 percent) of respondents said they
 are between the ages of 30 and 54.
     -- Highly Educated: A majority (65 percent) said they have a bachelor's
 degree or higher.
     -- Middle Class: Almost half of respondents (43 percent) said they have
 a household income of $50,000 or higher.
     -- Family Oriented: More than three-fourths of respondents (77 percent)
 said they are married.
     -- Religiously Diverse: More than half (52 percent) of respondents said
 they attend a mosque at least once a month, but than one-fifth (21 percent)
 said they seldom or never attend a mosque. While 46 percent of the
 respondents said they consider themselves "Sunni," 38 percent said they
 view themselves as "just Muslims." Ten percent said they are "Shia," while
 two percent said they are "Sufi," a more mystical interpretation of the
     -- Involved in Civic Life: The vast majority of Muslim respondents (87
 percent) said they regularly go to the polls on Election Day and almost
 half (45 percent) said they volunteer for an institution serving the
     * Democratic or Independent: Forty-nine percent of respondents said
 they consider themselves Democrats and 36 percent said they are politically
 independent. Only 8 percent of respondents said they are Republicans. When
 asked about their preferred presidential candidate, almost half of
 respondents (45 percent) said they "don't know or haven't decided."
     When asked their views on a number of domestic and international
 issues, the vast majority of Muslim respondents (86 percent) said attacks
 on civilians are "never justified." Those who said they were "often
 justified" (2 percent) were less that the statistical margin of error (3
 percent) for the survey.
     On international issues, American Muslim voters also said:
     -- American Muslim leaders should support peace and reconciliation
 between the warring factions in Iraq. (80 percent)
     -- Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is a serious problem and
 anti-Muslim prejudice is a threat to American Muslims. (76 percent)
     -- Brokering a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
 would improve America's reputation in the Muslim world. (75 percent)
     -- Simulated drowning (water-boarding) is an unacceptable interrogation
 method for terror suspects. (74 percent)
     When asked which issues will have the most influence on their voting
 decision, education was the top pick (89 percent) followed by civil rights
 (86 percent), health care policy (85 percent) and the economy (85 percent).
     These results defy stereotypes of American Muslims as a monolithic
 group. One interesting finding of the survey shows that the most devout
 Muslim voters are also those who are more likely to believe that Islam and
 modernity are compatible.
     Almost 80 percent of the Muslim voters polled said they would vote in
 this year's presidential primaries. With the prospect of close elections
 nationwide, no candidate can afford to ignore this potential bloc of swing
     The results of CAIR's survey should give a heads-up to candidates of
 any political party that there is a group of voters willing to listen to
 all those who address their concerns.
     ISLAM-OPED is a syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic
 Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on
 current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are
 offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission
 for publication will be
     granted on a first-come-first-served basis.
     CONTACT: Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787,

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations