A majority of Arab Americans strongly opposes President Bush's handling of
the Iraq war and many favor Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry in this
year's presidential election, according to a new nationwide poll of
Americans of Middle Eastern descent.
In the 2000 election, Bush won a majority of the Arab American vote.
Experts say this shift could have a major impact in swing states with large
Arab American populations such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"There's a significant concentration of Arab American voters (where states)
are up for grabs," said Ben Jealous, director of Amnesty International's
domestic human rights program. "This seems to be a swing constituency that
seems to have been very supportive of the Republican Party in 2000. Now it
seems this constituency might be swinging toward Kerry."
The study of 600 Arab, Iranian and Pakistani Americans was conducted for
the human rights group Amnesty International and New California Media, a
San Francisco-based nonprofit group.
"We have a poll that shows a strong rejection of President Bush's policies
in Iraq, and a suggestion that we withdraw our troops as soon as possible,"
said Sergio Bendixen, president of the Miami-based firm that conducted the
Respondents from all but six states were questioned in languages such as
Arabic, Farsi and Urdu between July 31 and Aug. 18, as fighting continued
in Iraq and new terror warnings were issued at home.
The report says Arab Americans have "starkly negative" views of the Bush
administration's actions in Iraq. Forty-nine percent of Arab American
registered voters questioned said they would vote for Kerry. Sixteen
percent said they would vote for Bush, while 14 percent support third-party
presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who is of Arab descent.
An estimated 3 million Arab Americans live in the United States