Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Blog
By Kristyn Acho
Fall Intern, 2014
This morning, Dr. Jim Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, released a new Zogby Analytics poll, Arab American Voters 2014: Their Identity and Political Concerns.
The poll revealed that Arab Americans are extremely proud of their ethnic heritage. Sixty-three percent of respondents identified as Arab American. This high percentage is a continuation of an upward trend that began in the 1990s, when only 51% described themselves as Arab American by country of origin or as Arab Americans alone.
This reveals that a stronger sense of community that has emerged amongst Arab Americans despite the increase in anti-Arab and Muslim sentiments in the United States that have continued since 9/11.
“People are not running away from their Arab American identity. In fact, they are embracing it,” Dr. Zogby said.
The ways Arab Americans construct their identities largely depends on their age and political party affiliation. The poll shows that Republicans and younger generations (18-29) had the lowest rates of identification as Arab American.
The preference for young people to identify themselves by multiple descriptors (party affiliation, gender, religion) was expected, as successive generations of Arab Americans who grew up in the United States often have complex identities that are not solely contingent on their ethnicity and heritage.
One alarming finding of the poll was the increase in percentage of Arab Americans who said that they had personally experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity or country of origin from 30 percent in 2003 to today’s 43%. However, in the face of ethnic discrimination, Arab Americans remain optimistic about the future, with a majority of respondents believe their children will have better lives than them.
On political concerns, nearly twice as many Arab Americans identified as Democrats than Republicans. Dr. Zogby attributed the rise in Arab American Democrats to the backlash against Bush administration policies, particularly the president’s course of action in Iraq.
View the video release below and the poll here.