261. Bush risks alienating Arab-American voters

Like every politician, George W. Bush wants to be reelected. Having lost the popular vote in 2000 by half a million votes he will need every vote he can get in 2004. In at least one segment of the population, the Arabs and especially Arab Muslims, he is loosing ground. This is what a poll conducted by Zogby International in July has shown.

It is worth mentioning that in 2000, Bush captured 45.5% of the Arab vote and 58.5% of the Muslim Arab vote. According to the Zogby poll, if the presidential election were held today, support for Bush among Arab Americans would drop to 33.5%, and only 10% of Muslim Arab Americans would vote for him.

These numbers should worry the Bush campaign especially because Arab Americans are concentrated in key states with large electoral votes like Michigan, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. “In a 50-50 game, every vote counts,” said Zogby. In 2000, Florida and Ohio went to Bush and the other two to Gore. If Bush loses all four states in 2004 he will be losing 85 electoral votes.

As far as job approval, 43% of Arab Americans indicated that they approve of Bush’s job performance while 55% said they disapprove. This is markedly down from the 83% positive and 15% negative rating he received from the Arab community right after 9/11 attacks.

Bush now needs the Arab- and Muslim-American vote just as much as he did in 2000. But if he continues in his present policies he can't count on their votes.

August 21, 2003