Only 52 % of Arab-Americans back President Barack Obama, with 16% undecided, and their votes could be the deciding factor in several swing states, according to a poll by the Arab-American Institute.
Obama won 67% of the Arab-American vote in 2008, and the new numbers are “signaling a potential loss of some 100,000 voters for Obama, according to AAI,” Vivian Salama wrote for the Al Monitor website.
Mitt Romney’s backing among Arab-Americans is only 28%, but that percentage will rise if the undecided voters stay home or vote against Obama.
The Arab-American population has a heavy representation in the swing states of Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The president is expected to win at least 60 percent of the Jewish vote, far less than the 74 percent he won in 2008, based on exit polls.
Despite the general Arab conception that Obama is pro-Israel, Arab-Americans, like Jews, are more interested in the economy.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks left the Arab-American community a political outcast. “Candidates often resist speaking at Arab-American events,” Safa Rifka, chairman of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee told Al Monitor. “When it comes to our position on foreign policy issues, the candidates don’t want to hear it.”
However, a younger generation of Arab-Americans is seeking more influence, Salama wrote.
“I would challenge anyone who says Arab-Americans can’t impact the results in this election — because they can, and they have,” Rifka said.
“Activist networks translate into political power at the local, state and national levels. It is a sign of our strength, our dynamism and our maturity as a political community,” Rifka added.