November 8, 2008

American Muslim Voters in the 2008 Election

Since at least the 2000 election (that I know of), an exit poll of American Muslim voters has been conducted after each presidential election. The results of the 2008 survey has just been released, and I thought I'd give a brief summary of the findings. The entire report (three pages) may be found here [pdf].

First, not surprisingly to me, Barack Obama received 88.9% of the Muslim vote. John McCain, on the other hand, received only 2.2%. Third party candidates (Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, or "someone else" received a combined total of 2.0% between them.

Because of such a huge number voting for Obama, it should not be too much of a surprise that most Muslims affiliate with the Democratic Party. 63.0% of Muslims identify themselves as Democrats, while only 4.1% identify as Republicans. 28.7% list themselves as Independents. Thus, Barack was not only able to capture a lot of the Muslim independents, but possibly even to persuade a significant number of Muslim Republicans to vote for him as well.

The most important issue for Muslim voters at this time is the economy (63.3%), followed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (16.1%). Other important issues for Muslim voters are education (5.0%), civil rights (4.1%), and national security (3.8%). Back in January, when another poll had been conducted of Muslim voters, education and civil rights were the most important issues at that time.

The turnout among respondents to the survey was 95%, the highest level of turnout among American Muslim voters ever. Of those who voted, 13.6% voted for the first time ever. A total of 78% of the voters reside in ten states; they are: Illinois, New York, Virginia, Michigan, California, Texas, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Note that all of those states with the exception of Texas are "blue," with two of those states, Virginia and Florida, having turned blue in this past election.

Cross-posted at Street Prophets and at Daily Kos.

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