During the second week of Arab American Heritage Month, the Arab American Institute conducted a nationwide poll of Arab American voters. It was a hybrid poll including online and telephone responses, conducted by Zogby Analytics. What follows are the key summary points.
Arab American opinion on President Biden is split. Though more favorably inclined than the than the general public, 47% of Arab Americans hold a favorable view and 47% hold a negative view of Mr. Biden. This represents a significant drop from a previous high of 74% favorable in our 2020 poll. Arab Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of President Trump with 61% holding a negative attitude towards the former President, including 40% reporting a “very negative view.”
Alongside the low favorability rating for President Trump, Arab Americans have left the Republican party at an unprecedented rate. Support for the Republican party among Arab Americans dropped to 24% from 32% in 2020, bringing party support back down to pre-Trump Administration levels. This coincides with a steady growth in the number of Arab Americans who identify as being Independent. Independents overtook Republicans for the first time since 2012, with support at 28 percent. Arab Americans support for the Democratic party remains steady at 40% after a fall in 2020.
Looking to the legislative branch, a majority (53%) of Arab Americans say they would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress. Thirty percent preferred Republicans and 17% remained unsure, including a plurality of Independents. Republicans support was highest among men and foreign-born Arab Americans, while Democrats do best with women and native-born Arab Americans. Democrats hold a significant lead over Republicans with younger voters, while Republicans lead with 65+ year-olds.
Nearly eight in ten Arab Americans were concerned with political polarization in the country, with 43% responding they were greatly concerned. When asked which party was to blame for political polarization, 48% blamed both parties, while 29% blame the Republicans and 23% blame the Democrats.
When provided a list of 14 policy concerns and asked to identify the issues they feel are most important in determining their votes in this election, 43% of Arab Americans said their number one concern was gun violence. This was followed by the budget deficit and controlling government spending (34%), jobs and the economy (33%), the environment and climate change (30%), and health care (20%). One in six democrats listed gun violence as their number one priority, while over half of Republicans (54%) chose the budget deficit. Independents were nearly evenly split on their number one priority, with 38% saying gun violence and 36% saying the budget deficit.
Arab Americans are deeply concerned about First Amendment issues in the United States. When asked about the laws and executive orders over two dozen states that prohibit individuals, groups, or businesses from receiving state funding or employment if they are found to engage in activities that boycott Israel, 81% of Arab Americans said they were concerned these policies violate Americans’ right to freedom of speech. At the same time 73% expressed concern over book bans targeting Black history and the LGBTQ community, with 43% saying they were very concerned.
When asked to identify the top two challenges facing US-Arab Relations, 39% of Arab Americans cited the political and economic crises in Lebanon. This was followed closely by securing justice for Palestinians (37%) meeting the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people (37%). Among younger Arab Americans, those aged 18-29 and 30- 49, securing justice for Palestinians remained the most cited concern; whereas older Arab Americans those aged 50-64 and 65+, respectively cited the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the crises in Lebanon as their top concerns.
When asked about how they would identify if a “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) category was added to the decennial census, a striking 74% of the population responded that they would use the MENA category. When asked how they would identify in combination with other racial and ethnic categories, 35% of Arab Americans would check MENA alone while 31% would check MENA and White, and 5% would check MENA and Black or African American.
Troublingly, 53% of Arab Americans reported experiencing discrimination because of their ethnicity or national origin. This percentages grew when looking at Arab American Muslims and younger generations (those ages 18-29 and 30-49). Fifty-eight percent of Arab American Muslims and 66% of younger generations of Arab Americans reported experiencing discrimination. Arab
Americans remain an active voting block with 94% of Arab Americans registered to vote. Where the Arab American vote will be most critical are in the key battleground states of Michigan (where they can be as much as 5% of the vote), and Ohio and Pennsylvania (where they are between 1.7 to 2% of likely voters).