You’re reading Back of the Envelope, an experiment that aims to bring shorter, quicker content to FiveThirtyEight.
At FiveThirtyEight, we process thousands of polls each year so we can power our election forecasts. While this gives us a general understanding of the opinions of the U.S. population in the aggregate, some groups are less surveyed than others. Take Arab-Americans: Most national polls don’t reach a large enough sample of Arab-Americans to reliably measure what their political beliefs are.
But on Tuesday, a poll crossed the FiveThirtyEight polling desk that helped shed some light on their beliefs. A survey by the Arab American Institute that concentrated wholly on Arab-Americans showed that like other minority populations, they are mostly identifying as Democrats. Arab-Americans are, however, by no means a homogenous voting bloc. The poll of Arab-Americans shows many of the same partisan trends that we see in nationwide polls of all Americans, as you can see in this chart from the poll that shows Arab-American party identification:
Despite Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric toward minority populations and immigrants, such as his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., 77 percent of Arab-Americans who identified as Republican in this poll responded that they would vote for Trump. (Thirty percent of the 502 respondents self-identified as Muslim.) Sixty-two percent of Arab-Americans said they were concerned about facing discrimination because of their ethnicity or country of origin. The share was even higher (78 percent) among Muslim Arab-Americans.
The poll also showed traditional partisan splits on which issues Arab-Americans deem most important in determining their vote for president. The economy was top priority for both Republicans and Democrats, but Republicans were more interested in combating terrorism and cutting the budget deficit, while Democrats were more concerned with gun violence and health care. James Zogby, director of the Arab American Institute, pointed out that “the major takeaway is how Arab-Americans are like the rest of America … we vote for the reasons why everybody else votes, for the issues that everybody else votes.”
For more on the political interests of Arab-Americans during the presidential campaign, please read this installment of FiveThirtyEight’s series, The Voters.
CORRECTION (Oct. 26, 1:45 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated James Zogby’s title. He is the director of the Arab American Institute, but not also the head of Zogby Analytics. The latter title belongs to his brother, John Zogby.Share on Facebook