Posted by on September 27, 2012 in News Clips

A new poll finds that a majority of Arab-Americans back President Obama for re-election over Mitt Romney — but that his support is down 15 percent from 2008

Obama tops Romney 52 percent to 28 percent, with 16 percent undecided, according to an online poll commissioned by the Arab American Institute (AAI).

That's down from his 2008 totals, where AAI found Obama with 67 percent support among Arab voters.

Obama has struggled to advance the Middle East peace process — and has had a rocky relationship with the Israeli government, despite increasing military assistance and security cooperation.

Arab-Americans are particularly attuned to that conflict, with 83 percent saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very important or somewhat important.

AAI president James Zogby told POLITICO earlier this month that his Arab-American constituency objected strongly to the reinsertion of language declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel in the Democratic Party platform.

"They're upset. They're upset with me. They're upset with us. They're upset with the president," Zogby said.

 

The Arab-American vote, often overlooked by politicians of both parties, could easily play a role in contested states like Florida and Michigan — states with concentrated Arab populations.

Mirroring the national numbers, Obama has a big lead among Arab-American women in the AAI poll, drawing 63 percent of the female vote. He also leads Romney among men, 44 to 37 percent.

Muslim Arab-Americans back Obama by a whopping 75 percent to 8 percent spread. Romney does best among Christian Orthodox and Protestant Arabs, edging Obama 40 percent to 34 percent. The poll also finds that 50 percent of Catholic Arab-Americans back Obama.

Unsurprisingly, jobs and the economy are the top issue for Arab American voters. However, 27 percent say that foreign policy is in the top two issues facing the U.S. — putting it in the top tier for Arab-American voters.

The online poll surveyed 400 likely Arab-American voters, giving it a margin of plus or minutes five percentage points.

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