April 3rd, 2012
03:35 PM ET
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
(CNN) - The number of Muslims in the United States is tiny - less than one in 100 Americans - but their votes could sway the results of the presidential election in November, a new study says.
That's because they are concentrated in a number of key swing states, says Farid Senzai, the author of the report.
Take Florida, for example, the state that famously swung the 2000 presidential election for George W. Bush over Al Gore.
Bush won by 537 votes - while a get-out-the-vote phone bank contacted 23,000 Muslims in one day during elections in 2008 and 2010, the report says.
Nauman Abbasi - the head of Emerge USA, which ran the phone bank - says efforts like his will increase Muslim voter turnout.
There are about 1.2 million registered Muslim voters in the United States, according to the study, "Engaging American Muslims."
More religious Muslims and those more involved in their mosques are more likely to vote, it found.
The biggest Muslim populations are in New York and California, which are unlikely to be battleground states in November.
But the next largest numbers of Muslim voters are found in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia, all of which could be key battlegrounds between President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent.
Florida and Ohio, two states that have been decided by razor-thin margins in recent years, also have enough Muslim voters to make a difference to the final result, the report says.
Of course, many other, larger constituencies, from Hispanics to women to the unemployed to political independents, could also claim to be the key ingredient in a winning coalition.
And Muslim voters have much the same concerns as the population at large, with domestic issues and the economy dominating, the study says.
Most Muslims voted for Bush in 2000, Democratic Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008.
They are more likely than the population as a whole to approve of Obama's performance now, the study found.
The report comes from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a Washington think tank focusing on Muslim issues. It is based largely on earlier data from sources including Gallup, Zogby International and the Pew Research Center.
From around the web
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.