Poll: Obama Has Strong Lead Over Romney Among Arab Americans

Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby (file photo)Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby (file photo)
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Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby (file photo)
Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby (file photo)
Cindy Saine
The Arab American Institute has released the results of a September survey of 400 Arab Americans, which shows that a majority support Democratic President Barack Obama in the race for the White House.  There has been a significant 15 percent drop in support for Obama compared with his strong numbers in 2008, but Republicans are not making gains with Arab American voters either.  

There is good news and bad news for President Barack Obama in a recent poll of Arab American voters conducted by the Arab American Institute.  AAI President Jim Zogby said the president enjoys a 24 percentage point leader over his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

"In this particular election, in the head-to-head between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the president has a substantial 52 percent to 28 percent lead.  There are about 5 percent voting for minority candidates and about 16 percent who are not sure," said Zogby.

But, the bad news for the president is that 15 percent of Arab Americans who voted for Obama in 2008 have not yet declared their support for the president in this election.

The poll results also holds some bad news for Romney and Republicans - that their support among Arab Americans is steadily declining.

"The Republican numbers dropped from 27 [percent] to 22 [percent] from 2008, but the margin of Democrat over Republican still being more than two to one,  continues the trend that we saw from 2002 where the gap between the parties began to open up," said Zogby.

Zogby said that he attributes the growing gap in Arab American support for Republicans compared to Democrats, which began in 2002, to former President George W. Bush's policies on Iraq and the Middle East, and on civil liberty issues in the United States.  A growing number of Arab Americans, 24 percent, identify themselves as Independents.

Zogby said neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party has done much to reach out to Arab Americans in the 2012 campaign.  Arab Americans make up about 0.5 percent of voters who will cast a vote in the November 6 general election.

Zogby said that, just like other Americans, Arab Americans are primarily concerned about jobs and the economy, while 27 percent said foreign policy is important.

"When we asked what the most important issues were, the economy clearly was the number one concern," he said.

The survey shows that a strong majority of Arab Americans feel secure in their current jobs, and most Arab Americans express confidence that their children will live better lives than they do.  But almost half of Arab Americans are concerned about facing some form of discrimination because of their origin.

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