By Tracey Tong –
Almost half of Muslim voters surveyed in a Super Tuesday poll supported Hillary Clinton, the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States said.
Of 2,000 Muslims polled, 46 percent supported Clinton, while 25 percent indicated support for Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Only 11 percent of Muslims polled said they supported Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the nomination.
The results were released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which also conducted the poll. The survey was conducted March 1 using CallFire, an independent automated call survey provider. The poll of six states with large Muslim populations included Texas and Virginia, where primaries were held March 1; Florida and Illinois (March 15); New York (April 19), and California (June 7).
According to the survey, older Muslim voters (65 percent of those ages 45 to 64 and 80 percent of those ages 65 and older) backed Clinton. 78 percent of younger Muslim voters ages 18 to 24 supported Sanders. Those in the age groups in between showed a divided preference for Clinton and Sanders, though Clinton still led. CAIR noted that support for Sanders might be higher due to a larger number of voters over the age of 45 than younger voters, being surveyed.
In the four states with upcoming primaries, Clinton’s lead over Sanders ranged from 22 percent to 40 percent, but her lead was not as large in all regions. CAIR said that an exit poll of Muslim voters in Texas and Virginia showed that many favored Sanders, who narrowed Clinton’s lead. The poll’s percentages were 34 percent for Sanders to 40 percent for Clinton in Virginia and 29 percent to 37 percent in Texas.
Support for the Democratic and Republican parties mostly remained constant from previous surveys with 67 percent of Muslim voters supporting the Democratic Party and 18 percent supporting the Republican Party.
A previous poll, which was conducted February 1, showed that 67 percent of Muslim voters supported the Democrats, while 15 percent supported the Republicans. The March 1 poll also showed that growing Islamophobia is the top issue for Muslim voters, with 24 percent of voters saying that they were very concerned. Muslim Democrats ranked Islamophobia highest, ahead of the economy, while Muslim Republicans ranked the economy as a bigger concern than Islamophobia.
In a release to the media, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad stated that “American Muslim voters are worried about the unprecedented anti-Muslim rhetoric being used by presidential candidates and are going to the polls in increasing numbers at both the state and national levels to make their voices heard by the candidates.”
CAIR will join other members of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) for the second annual National Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 18. A coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations, USCMO recently announced a drive to register one million voters prior to the 2016 presidential election.