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Most Arab American voters plan to vote for Joe Biden over Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election, according to a new poll conducted in the second week of October by the Washington, DC-based Arab American Institute (AAI).
The study, which was completed by 805 respondents, indicated that 59% of Arab Americans polled support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and 35% support President Donald J. Trump. The poll also asked respondents questions about foreign and domestic policies related to both candidates.
Trump’s support among Arab American Republicans has grown, according to AAI. In 2016 the polling found that 58% of Arab American voters supported Hillary Clinton and 25% supported Donald Trump, showing that this year, his percentage points jumped up 10%.
A separate poll by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding correlated the findings that support for Trump among conservative American Muslims has increased since 2016.
The majority of respondents to AAI’s poll, though, showed strong backing for Biden on the issues and disapproval of Trump’s handling of various issues, from the pandemic to protests for racial justice. A quarter of those supporting Biden stated that they were voting for the former Vice President in opposition to Trump, as opposed to directly supporting the Biden campaign.
Overall, Arab Americans who responded showed that their greatest concerns this election year were ranked as race relations, then the faltering economy, and third, healthcare, as the pandemic continues. Seventy percent of those polled said that they viewed the nationwide demonstrations supporting Black Lives Matter in a positive light.
Respondents also relayed that Palestine, “meeting the humanitarian concerns of the Syrian people,” and addressing the political and economic crisis in Lebanon, were the top areas of concern on international issues. By a margin of two to one, Trump was seen as being more ineffective than effective in addressing polled domestic and foreign policy issues. Most respondents answered that Biden could improve relations with the Arab world.
The AAI also found that turnout will likely be high for Arab Americans in this election, particularly in Michigan, where Arab Americans could make up 5% of the electorate. More than 80% responded that they were likely to vote, as the Trump and Biden campaigns make their final pitch across the crucial swing state.
Last week, Jill Biden spoke to Arab American activists and community members in Dearborn, Michigan, in front of the iconic Shatila Bakery, an Arab bakery and community mainstay which has been around since the 1970s. There, she spoke about the US being a “nation of immigrants” and claimed that Joe Biden’s vision included Arab American communities. Senator Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice-presidential pick, also campaigned on the ground, speaking to Arab voters in Dearborn.
On Friday, in Michigan, Trump again touted his support in the Chaldean Iraqi community, a Christian minority that played a helpful role in the 11,000 vote lead which tipped Trump over the edge in Michigan in 2016. The Chaldean community has experienced a subsequent wave of deportations by ICE throughout Trump’s presidency, including the case of Jimmy Aldaoud, a 41 year old Iraqi national who had never lived in Iraq. Aldaoud was deported to Iraq, without family on the ground or insulin for his diabetes, and later died, homeless in Baghdad. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the Navy’s largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus