In previous elections, ethnic groups have been viewed as key elements of a candidate's campaign. In 2004, Latinos were seen as an important demographic to reach. The debate surrounding immigration reform made both John Kerry and President George Bush attempt to "win" the Latino vote.
However, less attention is given to religious minorities, such as Muslims, Jews, and non-evangelical Christians. Due to the fact that the national census does not tally the numbers of any religious demographic, the true numbers and influence of any of these groups can only be estimated or discerned through outside surveys. In the 2008 election between Barack Obama and John McCain, though, religious minorities have come to the forefront as significant players.
For example, there has been much debate in the popular sphere as to Barack Obama's religion, and McCain was criticized for saying that a Muslim should not be president, though he later recanted his statement. Many people claim that Obama is Muslim, though he has stated that he is a Christian. Despite the rumors and mistruths surrounding the campaign, the Muslim demographic is proving to be strong in the upcoming election.
CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has devoted significant time and effort to education about the candidates, yet many Muslims have mentioned in interviews with the press that they feel neglected by the candidates when they too represent a part of American society. A story recently published in The Detroit News expressed this disappointment-neither candidate has devoted much time to reaching out the American Muslim community, yet they visit synagogues and churches ("Muslims feel ignored by McCain, Obama," July 5th, 2008). (MORE)