Posted by Politico on July 11, 2014 in News Clips
Muslim-American leaders said Friday that a new poll showing the community’s sky-high approval rating of President Barack Obama stems partly from its disdain for the Republican party.
“I think [Muslim-Americans] see the president sympathetically, but they also see his opponents to be, for lack of a better term, just damn awful,” said James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute. “The way Republicans have handled the Muslim community…what they feel is outright bigotry. It makes them see the president in a sympathetic light.”
According to a Gallup poll, 72 percent of Muslim-Americans said they approve of the president - the highest rating among any religious group in the U.S.
“Muslims, in our data for one thing, skew very young,” said Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, the author of “God Is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America.” “The Muslims in our sample are the youngest among any of those religious groups and young people are more likely to be Democratic…and in our sample they likely live in the East and that’s the most Democratic region in the country.”
Haris Tarin, the director of the DC office for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, also attributed the poll numbers to what he called “the trauma of a post-9/11 Bush presidency” and said most Muslim-Americans continue to feel left out of the Republican conversation.
“There’s a backlash in terms of the rhetoric that comes out of the Republican party,” Tarin said. “The president and the Democratic party, in terms of their rhetoric, are more inclusive, the conversations are more inclusive of all Americans and you don’t see that as much within the Republican Party.”
The Muslim-American leaders said the community is quicker to blame the GOP than the president when things go wrong.
“I think [Muslim-Americans] see a lot of potential in the president and perhaps give him a pass sometimes because they figure he’s under such attack constantly that he doesn’t always have the ability to carry out or implement the policies he would like to,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director for the Council of American-Islam Relations.
Another factor explaining the Gallup poll, Tarin noted, is that 25 percent to 35 percent of the Muslim population in the U.S. is African-American, a group that has a higher-than-average approval of Obama.
“There’s an identity factor in the sense that he’s African-American, born of an immigrant father and these are issues that [Muslim-Americans] can identify with,” Zogby said.