Muslim Americans least likely faith group to vote for Trump

Voter registration among US Muslim communities continues to climb, poll shows

Critics of Donald Trump’s travel bans argued it singled out Muslims. AP

Muslim Americans are the faith group least likely to support President Donald Trump in the US election on November 3, a new poll suggests.

The survey, conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding over the spring and released on Thursday, showed that support from Muslim Americans for Mr Trump was lower than all others.

Only 14 per cent of Muslim Americans support the president’s re-election bid, with Jewish Americans coming second at 27 per cent, Catholics at 34 per cent, Protestants at 39 per cent and Evangelicals at 61 per cent.

But the 14 per cent among Muslim Americans is a 10 per cent increase on the support given to Mr Trump’s first presidential bid.

Approval for him among minority group stands at 30 per cent. But the poll was conducted in March and April before the economic downtown in US caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The bump in Mr Trump’s support from 4 to 14 per cent is mostly from white Muslims, the poll said, with 31 per cent backing the president for economic reasons.

Among black and Arab Muslims, the support drops to 8 per cent.

Muslim Americans mainly support a Democratic candidate. Former candidate Bernie Sanders received 29 per cent support and current nominee Joe Biden 22 per cent when the poll was conducted in the primaries.

About 51 per cent of Muslim Americans support any Democratic candidate, compared with 16 per cent supporting a Republican.

As a candidate, Mr Trump favoured a “Muslim ban” and as a president he signed executive orders to limit immigration from several Muslim-majority countries for national security reasons.

The poll said Muslims were more likely than the general public to express satisfaction with the direction of the US.

It revealed that Muslim voter registration has risen since 2016, and is now at 78 per cent.

The segment of Muslim voters who intend to vote but have not yet registered has fallen from 21 per cent in 2016 to 3 per cent  in 2020.

Erum Ikramullah, one of the authors of the poll and a research project managed at ISPU, said he expected more voter turnout from Muslim Americans in this election.

"Given that Muslim voter registration continues to rise and that the gap between intentions to vote and behaviour has significantly declined, we would expect that most eligible-to-vote Muslims are committed to voting in the presidential election," Mr Ikramullah told The National.

Muslim Americans are more engaged in US politics than most people in the country, he said.

“We find that Muslim political engagement beyond voting exceeds, or is on par with, the general public, so we can expect Muslims to remain engaged in political activity no matter the election outcome,” Mr Ikramullah said.

The US is home to more than 3.4 million Muslims, the Pew Research Centre says, many of whom live in key battleground states such as Michigan and Florida.

The country’s Muslim communities could play a decisive role when America votes on November 3.