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Muslim voters could swing election, report finds
Owla Awada manages a popular bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, a possible battleground state in November.
April 3rd, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Muslim voters could swing election, report finds

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.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: 2012 Election • Islam • Politics

soundoff (836 Responses)
  1. wimanf

    The democratic Party is so desperate that they are turning to those who seek to overtake the US and turn it into a sharia law dominated country. Shame on the party. You see, other nations come to the US seeking a better life. However, when it comes to Muslims, it's different. Beware of them! If you think that I am wrong, take a look at the European countries and see for yourself.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Garrick Greathouse

      Do you have any actual facts and figures, published and peered reviewed, to back up these claims? Or are you just a racist hillbilly spouting nonsense?

      April 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • mm

      Islamophobia

      April 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • superhit

      Yes, only short sightedness would cause you to state such statements. First of all, if you are taking your definition of Sharia law from Fox news, then you might wanna read it from a neutral location where extra fluff is not included. Crime is crime. Different ideologies, religion or any other belief system over the human history have people take wrong steps. It didn't taint the better part of the group but only the individual doing the wrong has been isolated. If so were not the case, all christians should be grouped with Hitler.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • pico

      whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat i am a Muslim and i do not know 1 Muslim that want the sharia law in usaaaa
      name the Muslim countries that practice sharia law except iran and saudi
      peace from a Muslim who does not want the sharia law

      April 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  2. Hikerstud

    Congress Senate President Supreme court equals 500 people who rule three hundred million. It does not take alot of unified well placed and organized individuals to really influence things. See Obama has placed five well connected muslims in white house. They are there to influence on a national level. Leftist and Islam both want to eradicate religious right.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • sam stone

      So do fiscal conservatives

      April 4, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  3. politically inccorrect

    I wonder if they will vote for a person because of his background and his name, rather than consider his track record? Does a middle name such as "Hussein" gain votes from muslims? I think it does. bottom line right or wrong, they will go for the candidate that is most like them,and that is what they did with the last election. At some point, they will have a candidate of their own. Someone whom can claim to be eligible, but who if elected, well think about it. I guess our freedoms are already slipping away anyway. I can quote at least 10 cases in the past 3 years where freedoms have been incrementally stripped from good Americans, and we all know who was Prez. Before anyone pops up and says, Bush stripped freedoms too, I am no fan of his either. Bush could take 10 freedoms to Obama's taking one, and it is still a freedom taken away by Obama isn't it. In many cases Obama, simply re-authorized things that Bush did. This country is almost unrecognizable from what it was in the 70's 80's and early 90's. I can remember being allowed to do so many things then, are illegal now. sad that we are heading in this direction.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • jimmy hat

      I can stop you at the first sentence. What did Oblama accomplish? Track record? NADA- And that's spanish for all you Muslims out there.
      Obama did ZERO and will get reelected

      April 4, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • superhit

      Yeap so did Bush, except Obama would be lesser of the two wrongs

      April 4, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • politically inccorrect

      Not disputing that Jimmy Hat, Obama did more harm than good. That's for sure.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Simmons

      I like you. I'd like to think that ignorance makes every other party look fantastic. And yes, Obama will get re-elected, and yes, people will still pretend like the majority of the country doesn't want him in office. I don't understand how anyone can support people like Santorum and look themselves in the mirror. It's just terrible, and makes me feel so sorry for the human race knowing we're going backwords. Obama didn't accomplish much, but his ideals are why he will get re-elected. Vote for someone who hasn't accomplished that much, but has fantastic ideals, or vote for someone who may or may not accomplish anything, who will take the country back 50 years. It's an easy decision.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • wimanf

      Obama and the Muslim brotherhood are good pales, based on what I once saw on CNN. He met with the Muslim brotherhood organization many times at the WH. Are you still wondering about the reasons why they would vote for him? simple, Muslim to Muslims.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  4. ug

    The moslems have a total of about a half million people in this country...how can they swing anything! stupid libs.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • jimmy hat

      uh, read the article

      April 4, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • GATORpride

      LOL less than half a million in the country? You are grossly incorrect.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • J.W

      Half a million in Michigan maybe.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • sam stone

      stupid libs? go get your shinebox, ya morton downery jr wannabe

      April 4, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  5. Jaya

    Fluffy article. Ignorant racists respond from the right, as usual, and this article says Bush won Florida by 537 votes. No, Bush won Florida when the Supreme Court stopped the recount 5-4 along party lines with a non-reviewable ruling, when the five Republicans flopped on their long-held stand on State Rights over the federal gov. Lively debate over nothing. I wonder why Fox News doesn't have this free-for-all comment stuff, so we can't comment on there propaganda fluff pieces?

    April 4, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • jimmy hat

      Ignorant racists?

      I don't see alot of Christians crashing planes into buildings and saying 'God is Great"

      The Muslim religion is tainted

      April 4, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Mohamad

      Well from information i took from the AP GOV class im taking right now, even if a recount of the votes from the controversial districts that were talked in florida, Bush would have still won by some 200 votes.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  6. jimmy hat

    quoting Megadeth-
    "killing for religion, something I don't understand"

    April 4, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • superhit

      Jimmy the hat, you should wear one of those hats, that says, "Punch me, I am stupid". Your memory only allows you the span of 9-10 years. If you look at history, Christians are responsible for all major atrocities in the world. World war 1, 2, colonization, slavery and to name a few. Anyway, you can't illuminate a stupid, much like putting lipstick on a pig.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Moses

      Jimmy, terrorism doesn't have a religion, i am a muslim, and i challenge you to read the quran before you keep on saying that Islam = terrorism. and i challenge the people that say that christianity is or that judaism is the religion of terrorist to read the bible and bring proofs from those books. yes there are bad people in every religion but that doesn't give you or me the right to condemn everybody. otherwise, we can call christians terrorists too, for what Hitler did to the Jews, Millions of innocent Jews that he burned alive, or for what Timothy Mcvey did in oklahoma city.... we do have a problem and the best way to fight is if we all unite against it and help each other, not by blaming each other. Thank you

      April 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  7. They can't

    Period

    April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • jimmy hat

      happening in Europe now

      April 4, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  8. Jerry

    Most of the Muslims I know are small business owners like me. They're not interested in electing a president who will take the fruits of their long hours and hard work and give it to those who won't work and don't deserve the money.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Jack Jackson

      YOU sir, are a fool.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Lily

      Jerry, you understimate how much people can be influenced when they are constantly being made the "enemy" and a "monster". Lower taxes isn't enough to overcome that kind of prejudice. As a small business owner and a minority (Hispanic, not Muslim), I can tell you it's not enough. And the republican party doesn't even demonize Hispanics anywhere as much as they demonize Muslims.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  9. Reagan80

    And, they're on a roll. Having elected one of their own in 2008. The Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Me

      Ah yes, you're still convinced that you know something no one else does. If he were a muslim it wouldn't matter. Also, our founding father are probably turning over in their graves at the way their country has been overtaken by intolerant bigots like you.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Lily

      Obama is not a Muslim. Not that facts matter to you. You just hate the fact that a black male that was partially raised abroad (oh my God, he's not like us! He must be evil!) is president. He makes you uncomfortable. You can't say why out loud, so you find anything else you can to throw at him. The fact that Obama has always been Christian since he chose religion (he was raised for a time in a secular household) and has never belonged to any mosque, doesn't really matter to you.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  10. fraczkic

    Well this is true any minority that votes a certain way can swing a close election.
    The problem with Republicans is that they have been hijacked by war mongers and fear mongers who are telling the nation to almost blanket blame Muslims as a religion or so it has seemed so far.
    So why would any Muslim want to vote for Fascism/Republican? Even though they did mostly vote for Bush in 2000.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • jimmy hat

      uh, to slowly take over

      April 4, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • fraczkic

      no one is taking over. stop being racist/issraeli. and move on with your sad life already.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  11. Thor

    If you think that Islam is done with attacking America with two planes and a few death blossoms in the Middle East, think again FRIENDS! They are here, as we have permitted, and they are gonna take liberty with their religion just like their crazy cuzins in Iran have. We all believed that we were safe before September 11. Yet we got a whammy! Now, they have been creeping in with their little innocent selves and guess what! Whammy, they are gonna rise up and start their killing here just like they have in the Middle East. The few here are already killing their familly members. Proof is there in front of our faces that they are gonna destroy America.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Syed

      There is more to Islam then twisted wahabis. Only few muslims follow their twisted version but unfortunately they make all the news

      April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Mj

      Is this the end of Republican Party?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • David

      Thor, do you ever wake up and think, "I'm so paranoid–what will I post today?!" Give me a break, man. You really think all Muslims want to kill you? Do you even KNOW any Muslims? I didn't think so. So the IRA have killed a lot of British people–do you think all Irish people are blood-thirsty insurrectionists? Grow up, man.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • jimmy hat

      Yo
      David,
      I'm kinda proud that I don't know any Muslims. They'd riot if one was asked to remove their turban during OUR natiniol anthem

      April 4, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • jimmy hat

      And yes David, most Muslims want to kill you, because you do not believe in Mohammed, you don't lay down on a carpet and pray to the east 6 times a day, etc.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • David

      Of COURSE you're proud to be ignorant, jimhate, you're a simpleton. You would prefer to live in fear of something you don't understand than to have your stupidity exposed. Thank goodness you're so concerned with population control–the rest of us are trying to evolve and not have you pollute the gene pool is a blessing.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Thor

      David.... you are a naive child. Been amongst the dead for a long time. I'm just safe and sound. It is a world where you know (if you really do know Islam) it is what you want it to be. Frankly, just like any religion, it is crafted into a new sect, yes, just like Anglicanism, to meet the needs of the few and the wealthy. Grow up? Is that supposed to mean something to me? Don't worry though. Time will continue to show what is. You just can't stop the Caliphe now!

      April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Reason

      Did you take your pills this morning?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Thor

      David, no one is afraid of your friends. We are just simply.... ready and prepared.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • David

      Not true at all, little jim, I know tons of Muslims–I play with two on my basketball team–and go to med school with dozens more. They're regular Americans like me (not like you, because you are filled with hate and, like Islamic terrorists, do not represent most of my country). You have more in common with the 9/11 hijackers than ANY of my Muslim friends do. You're welcome. Let me know if you need me to explain any other elementary subjects to you.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Reagan80

      Come on, David. You're not really as dumb as your posts make you seem.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Me

      David, thank you for having the patience to correct these idiots. Just like not everyone is patient enough to be a kindergarten teacher, I am not suited to explain the foundations of tolerance vs irrational fear to simpletons.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • jimmy hat

      jimhate?

      Who is that? At least learn the language.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • jimmy hat

      I have more in common with the 9/11 hijackers???
      Are you really that serious?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • jimmy hat

      Oh, and David chose a "Judeo-Christian" name to blend in.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Thor

      It's just so telling. We trusted them. We helped them. Then... when the fighting gets going... they go just, kinda, well... nuts. It's called the death blossom. You just can't get them to control themselves. THAT is what is so unstable about them. They don't have the ability to thwart the clerics, who incite them to violence. They just seem to be missing something... I dunno... maybe it's a control gene. When they lose it. "It" is really gone and they go do rash things and have to justify themselves...Oh well ... break time is over.... they are coming back gotta go!

      April 4, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • J.W

      So thor what if I walked up to you and told you I was a Muslim? Would you call the police and try to have me deported? Even though I have lived here my whole life?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • sam stone

      JimmyHat: You don't personally know any Muslims, but you know what they are all thinking. What a gift you have. Now, go sodomize yourself

      April 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  12. Syed

    All of us muslims must vote. Last time was the first time my family voted and Obama won so definitely it mattered 🙂

    April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  13. silly

    In other news, blue haired lady may swing the vote in Montana.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  14. Diane from Ohio

    There is nothing wrong with this article or its message. Every group, whether Muslim, Hispanic, conservative Christian, Jewish, women, elderly, unemployed, gay, pro-life/pro-choice has a voting preference based on issues that affect them. All politicians know this....some choose to pander to a particular audience, while others tiptoe through the landmines. You can only hope a candidate remains sincere to what he states and is not sucking up merely for votes.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Diane from Ohio

      and stop the Islamaphobic bashing and just get a life. You haters seem to feel you are knowledgeable in Islamic Sharia ect.... but based on your replies, are blatantly ignorant and just racist morons.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • jimmy hat

      Um, Muslim law dictates that if you are under any government control that is NOT MUSLIM, that you are to rise up and fight against it. The Muslim population is also growing exponentialy (sp) due to their total disregard for human population control

      April 4, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Thor

      Look up the word phobia before you use it again you stupid wytch!

      April 4, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • David

      Sorry, Jimmyhate, but Sharia Law doesn't de facto dictate that. You haven't educated yourself on it, so don't go around spewing half-truths about it. And spare me the self righteous population control speech... I mean, talk about grasping for straws...

      April 4, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • superhit

      Jimmy Hate, you're right the Muslims are growing exponentially, may be you may come to terms and become one, or may be your kids, if you haven't population controlled them already. Its like history repeats itself. There were people who hated intermixing post abolition of slavery, then their kids married interracial. What a slap in the face. Sun shines over dark. By dark I mean ignorance.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • fraczkic

      Jimmy hat you are hate monger. That is not true ! All these PhD's in Islamic law come out of the woodworks suddenly claiming things to spread more lies and more hate. The average Muslim American could care less about Sharia Law. It's a fact. Not even 5% of the Muslim nations have Sharia Law.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Thor

    Duh! Ya think the Muslim populace in America is gonna stop at anything to push Sharia law into OUR society?

    April 4, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Odin

      You're still grounded till ragnorock, why are you posting on the internet.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • camh

      Syariah Law does not apply to non-Muslims... there is no push. Worry about something else.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Thor

      Kuz I feel like it OLD MAN!

      April 4, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Thor

      Yeah .. sure tell that to Daniel Pearl !

      April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • sam stone

      Gosh, Thor, sure got that head up your a$$, don't you?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Thor

      No... no head up the a.. just remembering the one missing on his shoulders.... and the entire society that has blessed that action.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • jimmy hat

      camh
      yeah, and in alot of countries, the Muslims discriminate against non Muslims.

      You need to look up the Koran. It is a book of hate

      April 4, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Reason

      Sharia law does not exist in the large majority of muslim countries

      April 4, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  16. D. Evil

    Flawed report Richard Allen Greene, Religion has little to do with this upcoming election. Go cause unrest somewhere else.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Me

      HAHAHAHAHA wait wait...stop it...BAHAHAHAHA!!!

      Okay first you say it's a flawed article, without providing any reason or rationale. Then you say religion has nothing to do with this election!? HAHAHAHA Oh boy, you've got more problems that I've got time. But let me just ask you this, why is the birth control issue being pushed by the conservative right? Because it matters? No because they want the religious right's vote. Blocking gay rights? Demonizing non Christians (including mormons)? All. For. The. Religious. Vote.

      Ahhh thanks for a good laugh though, I needed it this morning.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  17. camh

    This is all with the ASSUMPTION that all Muslims will vote in the same way. Muslim majority countries don't have just one political party you know 🙂 While it is true that there seems to be the perception that many leaders in the GOP/Tea Party are anti-Islam, there are Muslims who have conservative views.

    I hope that all who can vote will vote and will do so only after understanding the issues and the candidates. Don't let any particular group tell you to support one particular candidate just because people like you are doing the same. It is a precious right. And it is a secret choice. Use it wisely.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Reagan80

      Possibly the most naive post I've ever read on the internet.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  18. Ghodsma

    American voters could swing Muslims.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • camh

      They are not mutually exclusive groups.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Reagan80

      Nice original post.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  19. BCat

    That's just swell...a group that probably doesn't collectively have the best interest of the country at heart can swing the election. Any more cheery news, CNN?

    April 4, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • camh

      Wow that's a blanket statement if there ever was one.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Thor

      Yes it's blanket. Just like the blanket celebration in raghead land when the Twin Towers were felled.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • sam stone

      Are you talking about Muslims or Evangelicals?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Thor

      Both are bad for business.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Reagan80

      Glad to see the atheists are whining about Evangelicals again.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, Reagan: I was only pointing out that the slam that BCat came up with also applies to another group.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  20. JC in the hot tub!

    First, we have Republican whack jobs telling us that Muslims are going to impose Sharia Law on Americans. Now we have this silly article telling us they're going to swing the election?

    They are less than 1% of the population people. Get a grip.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • camh

      What a lot of people don't realize (Muslims included) is that Syariah Law is not meant for non-Muslims. The code applies to Muslims only. You need not fear that Syariah will replace the law already in place here.

      But more importantly, you need not fear Syariah period. Those who try to stir up concerns are not that familiar with features of the Syariah Law. Business dealings, issues of inheritance, family rights, women's rights are among the items covered by Syariah.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Mj

      But they all vote. I am a muslim and all my family vote in all elections rain or shine.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Reagan80

      Your homework assignment for tomorrow: find out what percentage of the population the Communists were in 1917 Russia.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Nestor Makhno

      Which faction of the communists? The Bolsheviks? The Mensheviks? The Socialist Revolutionaries? The various anarchist groups? They were not a monolithic unity – they did not get along at all.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:39 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.