A new poll released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) showed that Muslims in America overwhelmingly support Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton over any other candidate.
The six-state Super Tuesday (March 1) poll of 1,850 registered Muslim voters found that 46 percent support Clinton, followed by 25 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and 11 percent for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, according to CAIR. Republican candidates Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio polled at 4 percent, 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
The poll also placed Islamophobia as the top issue of concern for Muslim voters, with 24 percent of those polled calling it the “most important issue in the 2016 presidential election.” According to CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, this result indicates a rise in Muslim voter participation overall.
“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,” Awad said.
This issue may be behind Clinton’s popularity with Muslims at the polls, according to Vox. A partisan divide in the CAIR poll showed that 27 percent of Muslim Democrats ranked Islamophobia as their top issue of concern, and as a result the majority of Muslims support the Democratic party, which overall has expressed more welcoming rhetoric towards Muslims in America. Only 19 percent of Muslim Democrats ranked the economy as their top priority.
Meanwhile, Muslim Republicans, 38 percent of whom ranked the economy as their top priority, overwhelmingly supported Trump because of his perceived business acumen. Only 14 percent of Muslim Republicans ranked Islamophobia as their top priority.
Clinton’s support is also partially due to an age divide, which showed that older Muslim voters -- 65 percent of those 45 to 64 and 80 percent of those 65 and older -- backed Clinton, while 78 percent of Muslim voters aged 18 to 24 supported Sanders. The 25 to 44 age group showed a more even distribution, with 44 percent supporting Sanders and 56 percent supporting Clinton. CAIR noted that because more of the people surveyed were above the age of 45, the distribution may have been skewed in Clinton’s favor.