Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Blog
Today at a press conference in DC, AAI released its poll on how Arab Americans plan to vote in the upcoming November election. AAI president Jim Zogby explained the poll’s key findings and insights into the likely voting behavior of Arab Americans this election cycle. He then took questions from reporters as well as from viewers on AAI’s Livestream channel.
Here are some key findings from the poll:
- 24% of Arab Americans now identify as independent.
- Since 1996 there has been a general trend away from the Republican Party; however, since 2008 Arab American support for Democrats has decreased as well.
- 15% of Arab American voters who voted for Obama in 2008 have not declared their support for him in 2012. In 2008 he received 67% of the Arab American vote, and it is currently down to 52%.
The poll found that while Obama’s support among Arab Americans has slipped since 2008, Democrats still outnumber Republicans in the community 2 to 1. In the presidential race, 52 percent plan to vote for Obama while 28 percent support Romney. There’s been a steady progression away from the GOP in the community since 2002, when 38 percent of Arab Americans identified as Republicans.
Despite Arab American Democrats outnumbering Republicans, 15 percent of Arab Americans who voted for Obama in 2008 are not yet committed to him this year. This drop in support is larger than the drop seen from most groups that supported him in 2008. The poll also shows a growing number of independents in the community, now 24 percent, as well as about 16 percent of Arab Americans remaining undecided.
Reporters in attendance and those following online contributed to a lively discussion. One reporter asked whether the growing number of independents has translated into support for third party candidates, to which Jim Zogby answered that it had not. When asked about the parties’ outreach efforts to the community, Dr. Zogby noted that both parties have fallen short of past efforts on outreach to ethnic communities in general.
A Livestream viewer asked a pertinent question on turnout: “How many Arab-American think [sic] or know that their vote matters? Historically have they been at the polls on Election Day and will we see them at the polls this year?” On the question of whether the Arab American vote will matter, Dr. Zogby noted that undecided Arab American voters number over 100,000 across 5 swing states. While these numbers won’t be significant if the margin between the two candidates stays large, they could potentially be a key constituency if the race gets closer. On the issue of turnout, Dr. Zogby pointed out that historically, Arab American turnout has been highest for candidates that matter to the community on a local level. For national elections, however, Arab American turnout is greater than the national average.
For more findings and a more detailed breakdown of the data, download the entire poll here.
Watch the briefing (presentation begins at 12 minute mark):
View press coverage:
Poll: Obama strong among Arab Americans, but less support since '08
Arab-American support for Obama down 15 percent from '08
Arab Americans favor Obama 2-1, down from 2008
James Zogby: Arab American Voters 'Overwhelmingly' Support Obama
Poll: Voters Favor Obama on Medicare
The Daily Beast
Arab Americans show tepid support for Obama, poll finds
Zogby: Arab-Americans Still Back Obama but More Take on Independent Label
Sunshine State News
Poll: Obama Has Strong Lead Over Romney Among Arab Americans
Despite Drop From 2008, Most Arab Americans Support Obama
Survey of Arab-Americans highlights drop in support for Obama
Obama Strong But Wilting with Arab-Americans
Transcript of AAI President Jim Zogby's appearance on "The Situtation Room with Wolf Blitzer"
CNN, September 27th