CANDIDATES AND CONSTITUENTS: AMERICAN MUSLIM ELECTION VICTORIES AND VOTER ATTITUDES

2018 Midterm Election

Released: November 7, 2018

In coordination with Jetpac

Conducted by Triton Polling & Research
www.tritonpolling.com

Commissioned by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel 202.488.8787 Fax 202.288.0833
info@cair.com www.cair.com
Twitter: @CAIRNational
Facebook: facebook.com/cairnational

Report Authors:
Robert S. McCaw, CAIR Government Affairs Department Director
Dr. Abbas Barzegar, CAIR Research and Advocacy Department Director
Shaun J. Kennedy, Jetpac Executive Director
Liam W. Foskett, CAIR Government Affairs Department Coordinator
Zainab Arain, CAIR Research and Advocacy Department Manager
Abigail Shepard-Moore, CAIR Research and Advocacy Department Intern

Background:


This report presents a detailed picture of political positions and attitudes held by
American Muslim voters in the wake of the Tuesday, November 6, 2018 midterm
election. It also provides a comprehensive list of nationwide American Muslim
election victories in 2018. This list was compiled in coordination with Jetpac and
based upon publicly available data as of November 7, 2018. According to this
research, approximately 55 American Muslims were elected to local, state, and
national positions. Data in this report will be updated and further analyzed in a
forthcoming joint report on American Muslim political organizing strategies to be
released on November 13.

The exit poll is based on an automated survey that explores the views of registered
American Muslim voters on their participation in this year’s election,
political party preference, perception of personal values, concerns about rising
Islamophobia, and religious and civic engagement since the 2016 presidential
election. The survey results are drawn from a random sample telephone survey
of 1,027 American Muslim voters.

As American Muslim participation in the political process has experienced steady
growth in the past several decades, so has interest in better understanding Muslim
voters. During the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, American Muslim
groups mobilized to deliver presidential endorsements that received national
attention. In 2006, CAIR issued its first-ever random sample poll of likely Muslim
voters. Prior to the increasingly heated 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections,
CAIR commissioned polls to track the views of American Muslim voters.
CAIR also commissioned a national exit poll survey of Muslim voters following the
2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.

In the 2014 midterm election, CAIR released a survey of the six most populous
states of American Muslim voters, which included California, Florida, Illinois, New
York, Texas, and Virginia. CAIR also released a similar six-state poll for the March
2016 “Super Tuesday” primary that explored Muslim views of Democratic and
Republican Party presidential nominees.


American Muslims Elected to Office *

*This information is based upon publicly available data gathered and analyzed
by CAIR and Jetpac and updated as of close of business on November 7, 2018.
Please report content updates or adjustments to info@cair.com.

Highlights of Findings:

• 95% of Muslim voters who responded to the survey participated in this year’s midterm election.

• 78% of Muslim voters primarily voted for the Democratic Party candidates
and 17% for Republican Party candidates.

• 46% of Muslim voters consider themselves liberal on social issues, while 35%
consider themselves conservative.

• 43% of Muslim voters consider themselves fiscally conservative, while 40%
consider themselves liberal.

• 26% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic candidates perceived
themselves as being conservative on social issues. Moreover, 36%
perceived themselves as being fiscally conservative.

• 68% of Muslim voters thought Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the
U.S. increased while 17% thought it decreased in the past year.

• 78% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates
thought Islamophobia increased in the past year. Conversely, only 33% of
Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates thought
Islamophobia increased in the past year.

• 53% of Muslim voters became more interested in politics since the 2016
presidential election, while 34% maintained the same level of interest in
politics and 13% became less interested in politics.

• 55% of Muslim voters have become more actively involved in politics and/or
civically engaged since the 2016 presidential election, while 45% have not.

• Out of those Muslim voters who have become more actively involved in
politics and/or civically engaged since 2016 presidential election:

• 20% have primarily donated money to a political or social campaign.
• 25% have primarily donated their time by volunteering with a local
charity or civic-minded or religious organization.
• 18% have primarily donated their expertise by using their skills
and/or network to advance social/political engagement.
• 37% have primarily been involved in another way.


• Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates were
more likely to contribute money as their primary form of involvement, while
Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates were
more likely to volunteer with a local charity or civically minded or religious
organization.

• 15% of Muslim voters are very involved in activities at their mosque or Islamic
center, while 26% are somewhat involved, 27% are not very involved, 28%
are not at all involved, and 4% were not sure / didn’t know how to answer.

• 49% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates
were more likely to not at all be involved in activities at the mosque or Islamic
center in comparison to their Democratic Party supporting counterparts
(23%).

• 63% of survey respondents identified as male and 37% as female.

• Muslim women are more likely to support Democratic Party candidates and less
likely to support Republican Party candidates than their male counterparts.

 

Methodology:


A sample of 1,027 respondents was drawn through a randomization procedure
from a larger database of more than 250,000 Muslim voter households. The 1,027
respondents themselves were a subset of this larger database characterized by
having two or more traditionally Muslim names.

The American Muslim voter database was developed by matching state records
of registered voters with an extensive list of some 45,000 traditionally Muslim
first and last names. In compiling this list, common names prevalent among Muslims
across the world’s Muslim-majority ethnic groups were identified and verified
by well-informed members of these ethnic groups.

Although it is the largest such list compiled to date, this pool of Muslim voters
does not include Muslims with uncommon names or those who do not have
traditionally Muslim names. Also excluded are Muslims with names that are also
common in other communities (such as Sarah or Adam).

CAIR commissioned an independent polling company, Triton Polling & Research
of Henderson, Nevada, to conduct the poll via automated telephone interviews.

Calls were conducted on November 6, between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., by time zone.
Respondents included 650 men and 377 women from across the nation. The poll
has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, with a confidence level of 95%.

The interview explored the following topics:
1. Basic demographic indicators, including age and gender.
2. Perception of personal political ideology, social values and religiosity.
3. Political and civic engagement and voting behavior.
4. Perception of Islamophobia.


Top Line Survey Results

Political Attitudes and Personal Political Ideology

Q1. Did you vote in the 2018 November midterm election?

(Based on total respondents)
Yes: 94.9% (975 respondents)
No: 5.1% (52 respondents)

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

When asked whether they voted in the 2018 midterm election, 94.9% registered
Muslim voters stated that they voted, while 5.1% said that they did not.


Q2. Which party did you primarily vote for?

(Based on respondents who voted)
Republican: 17.1% (167 respondents)
Democratic: 78.4% (764 respondents)
Green: 0.7% (7 respondents)
Libertarian: 0.7% (7 respondents)
Democratic Socialists of America: 0.5% (5 respondents)
Write-in: 0.5% (5 respondents)
Not sure / don’t know: 2.1% (20 respondents)

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

In a poll of registered Muslim voters that participated in the 2018 midterm election,
78.4% reported that they primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates,
while 17.1% voted Republican Party, 0.7% Green Party, 0.7% Libertarian Party, and
0.5% Democratic Socialists of America. Only 0.5% of registered Muslim voters
wrote in the name of their preferred candidate and 2.1% of respondents were not
sure or did not know how to respond to the question.

The results of this poll continue the noted trend of most registered Muslim voters
aligning with the Democratic Party. CAIR’s 2016 presidential election exit poll of
more than 2,000 Muslim voters indicated 74% voted for Democratic Party candidate
Hillary Clinton, while 13% for Republican Party candidate, now president,
Donald Trump.

 

Q3. Generally, do you lean more conservative or liberal on social
issues?

(Based on total respondents)
Conservative: 34.9% (358 respondents)
Liberal: 46.2% (474 respondents)
Not sure / don’t know: 19.0% (195 respondents)



Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

This poll indicates that most registered Muslim voters, regardless of political party
affiliation, consider their personal views on social issues to be liberal (46.2%), in
comparison to the 34.9% that viewed themselves to be conservative on social issues.
19% of respondents were not sure or did not know how to respond to the question.

 

Q4. Generally, do you consider yourself to be fiscally conservative
or fiscally liberal?

(Based on total respondents)
Conservative: 43.0% (442 respondents)
Liberal: 39.8% (409 respondents)
Not sure / don’t know: 17.1% (176 respondents)


Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

This poll indicates that most Muslim voters, regardless of political party affiliation,
consider themselves to be fiscally conservative (43%), in comparison to the 39.8%
that viewed themselves as fiscally liberal. 17.1% of respondents were not sure or
did not know how to respond to the question.

Both poll questions on whether registered Muslim voters perceive themselves
to be conservative or liberal on social and fiscal issues are in follow-up to CAIR’s
“AMERICAN MUSLIM VOTERS AND THE 2016 ELECTION” pre-election survey
of 804 Muslim voters. In that survey, CAIR found that most Muslim voters, regardless
of political party affiliation, consider their personal political ideology to
be moderate (44%), followed by liberal (25%), conservative (11%), and then other
(16%).

 

Q5. Do you think Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the
U.S. have increased or decreased in the past year?

(Based on total respondents)
Increased: 68.4% (702 respondents)
Decreased: 17.0% (175 respondents)
Not sure / don’t know: 14.6% (150 respondents)


Note: 2016 data sourced from previous general election survey sample commissioned
by CAIR in October 13, 2016.

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Most respondents, 68.4%, believe that Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment
in the U.S. have increased in the past year. Conversely, only 17% of respondents
believe that such sentiment has decreased and 14.6% were not sure or did not
know how to respond to the question.

CAIR asked registered Muslim voters the same question in its October 2016
pre-election survey. As shown above, most respondents in both surveys thought
Islamophobia increased.

Political and Civic Engagement

Q6. Since the 2016 presidential elections, have you…

(Based on total respondents)
Become more interested in politics: 52.6% (540 respondents)
Become less interested in politics: 13% (134 respondents)
Maintained the same level of interest in politics: 34.4% (353 respondents)

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Since the 2016 presidential election, more than half of register Muslim voters
(52.6%) reported that they became more interested in politics. Conversely, 13%
of respondents reported that they became less interested in politics, while 34.4%
reported that they maintained the same level of interest in politics.


Q7. Since the 2016 presidential election, have you become more
involved in politics and / or civically engaged?

(Based on total respondents)
Yes (more involved): 54.8% (563 respondents)
No: 45.2% (464 respondents)


Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Since the 2016 presidential election, 54.8% of Muslim voters reported that they
became more involved in politics and/or civically engaged. Conversely, 45.2% of
respondents reported that they had not become more engaged.

 

Q8. In what way has your involvement taken the greatest form?

(Based on those answered yes to the previous question)
Money: Donating to a political or social campaign: 20.4% (115 respondents)
Time: Volunteering with a local charity or civic-minded or religious organization:
24.9% (140 respondents)
Expertise: Using your skills and/or network to advance social/political engagement:
17.8% (100 respondents)
Other: 36.9% (208 respondents)

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Of those respondents who reported greater involvement in politics and/or civic
engagement since the 2016 presidential election, they were asked a follow-up
question to determine in what way their involvement took the greatest form:

• 20.4% of respondents said they primarily donated to a political or social campaign.

• 4.9% of respondents said they primarily volunteered with a local charity or
civic-minded or religious organization.

• 17.8% of respondents said they primarily used their skills and/or network to
advance social/political engagement.

• 36.9% of respondents report their involvement took another form.

Religiosity 

Q9. Including prayer, how involved are you in activities at the
mosque or Islamic center? Would you say that you are?

(Based on total respondents)
Very involved: 15.1% (155 respondents)
Somewhat involved: 26.2% (269 respondents)
Not very involved: 26.7% (274 respondents)
Not at all involved: 28% (288 respondents)
Not sure / don’t know: 4% (41 respondents)

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Fifteen percent (15.1%) of polled Muslim voters reported that they were very
involved in activities at a mosque or Islamic center, 26.2% stated they were somewhat
involved, 26.7% were not very involved, 28% were not at all involved, and 4%
refused to answer the question.

Q10. What gender do you identify as?

(Based on total respondents)
Female: 36.7% (377 respondents)
Male: 63.3% (650 respondents)


Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election


How Muslim Voters Who Voted For Democratic or Republican Candidates Responded to Other Survey Questions


Comparison of the responses of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican
and Democratic Party candidates to other survey questions.

Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Highlights:

• 26% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic candidates perceived
themselves as being conservative on social issues. Moreover, 36%
perceived themselves as being fiscally conservative.


Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Highlights:

• 78% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates
thought Islamophobia has increased in the past year. Conversely, only 33% of
Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates thought
Islamophobia has increased in the past year.

• 47% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates
thought Islamophobia has decreased in the past year. Conversely, only 10% of
Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates thought
Islamophobia has decreased in the past year.


Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Highlights:

• 57% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates
expressed becoming more interested in politics since the 2016 presidential
election, while 48% of their counterparts who primarily voted for Republican
candidates expressed becoming more interested in politics.


Source: CAIR
2018 Midterm Election

Highlights:

• A near even amount of registered Muslim voters who primarily voted for
Republican or Democratic Party candidates expressed having become more
involved in formal political and / or civically engaged since the 2016 presidential
election (60% vs 55%).

• Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates were
more likely to primarily contribute money as their primary form of involvement,
while Muslim voters who primarily voted for Democratic Party candidates
were more likely to volunteer with a local charity or civically minded or
religious organization.


Highlights:

• A near even amount of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican or
Democratic Party candidates are very involved in activities at the mosque or
Islamic center (15% vs. 15%).

• 49% of Muslim voters who primarily voted for Republican Party candidates was
more likely to not at all be involved in activities at the mosque or Islamic center
in comparison to their Democratic Party-supporting counterparts (23%).
• Muslim women are more likely to support Democratic Party candidates and
less likely to support Republican Party candidates then their male counterparts.


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