ISPU Press Release:
“Engaging American Muslims: Political Trends and Attitudes”
American Muslims can be a key factor in the swing states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania in the upcoming Presidential elections, according to a new report released today by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU).
April 3, 2012
For Immediate Release
Washington, DC—American Muslims can be a
key factor in the swing states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania in
the upcoming Presidential elections, according to a new report released today
by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). Case studies
conducted in two swing states, Michigan and Florida, found that an organized
and engaged Muslim community can impact election outcomes.
Designed to assist political strategists
and community organizers to better understand American Muslims’ political
behavior, “Engaging American Muslims: Political Trends and Attitudes” is
comprised of a decade’s worth of data on the Muslim community’s political
participation and authored by Farid Senzai, a fellow and director of research
The study explores the political
attitudes and behaviors of American Muslims and also makes recommendations for
further increasing their political involvement.
The report looks at the American Muslim
community’s shift in political party affiliation after 9/11, the effects of
Islamophobia on their engagement, and their opinions on various policy issues. Data
shows that American Muslims have shown an increased interest in politics since
9/11 as they have found themselves under scrutiny. Several factors, including
the passing of the PATRIOT Act and the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq,
dissatisfied many American Muslims and they shifted party affiliation from
Republican to Democrat in the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections.
However, the data shows that the Muslim
vote, especially in key battleground states like Florida and Michigan where they
make up a significant percentage of voters in key counties, could be won by
either party. In polling, the American Muslim community is shown to be
concerned with the domestic issues including the economy and jobs, like most
American voters sought by Republicans and Democrats.
According to Senzai, “The Florida case
study suggests that the American Muslim voter community is increasingly
engaged, in part due to the mobilization of Emerge USA and similar
organizations. In a swing state, the community has the potential to impact the
election’s outcome.” The Michigan case study yielded similar results, with
increasingly active American Muslim voters.
Farid Senzai is a Fellow and the Director
of Research at ISPU. He is also Assistant Professor of Political Science at
Santa Clara University. Dr. Senzai was previously a research associate at the
Brookings Institution, where he studied U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle
East, and a research analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he
worked on the Muslim Politics project. He served as a consultant for Oxford
Analytica and the World Bank. Dr. Senzai is currently on the advisory board of
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life where he has contributed to several
national and global surveys on Muslim attitudes. His recent co-authored book is
Educating the Muslims of America (Oxford University Press, 2009). Dr. Senzai
received a M.A. in international affairs from Columbia University and a Ph.D.
in politics and international relations from Oxford University.
The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) is an independent nonprofit public policy research organization. Our mission is to provide expert analysis, insight and context to critical issues facing our nation, with an emphasis on those issues related to Muslim communities in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about ISPU, and to download copies of our publications, please visit www.ispu.org.