Posted by Shadi Matar on November 12, 2015 in Blog

Michigan_group_lrg_2.jpgNew polls in show that the people of Michigan are split on who they want to be the next President of the United States. Many factors such as, Hilary Clinton’s rising unfavorable rating over the handling of her emails during her time as Secretary of State and the many back and forth comments between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, have made voters more undecided as we get closer to the 2016 Presidential Elections.

For the last 20 years, Michiganders have voted for the Democratic candidate but with many counties in Michigan voting Republican in 2012 the state saw a big change from the 2008 elections. With Michiganders now able to vote to redraw district lines this could serve as a powerful tool to change the election tides.

Polling data from the Arab American Institute has shown that although Arab Americans historically had voted Republican, today more Arab Americans tend to vote Democratic. The data also shows Arab Americans are increasingly identifying as independent. Both parties could capitalize on this shift within the Arab American community.

It is no surprise that Arab Americans have been an important voting bloc for candidates in major swing states. In battleground states such as Ohio and Florida Arab Americans have been supportive of candidates who have successfully reached out to them. In 2012, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) edged out Josh Mandel in a tightly contested race because he reached out and gained the support of Arab Americans on the right and left.

With the Republican pool of candidates in double digits and the votes split between them, candidates should look towards the Arab American communities across the country as they could swing the vote in their favor. Republican candidates such as John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry, who come from states with large numbers of Arab Americans, would be missing a huge opportunity to connect with a community that largely identifies as independent and could vote for them in 2016.