The Islamic vote

by Chris Bertram on September 27, 2003

Simon Kuper has an “interesting piece in the FT”: on the importance of the Islamic electorate in Europe. Though the piece is mainly about Europe, I was amused to read the following (which everyone else probably knows already):

bq. the Muslim bloc vote first appeared in the US, home of the ethnic lobby. A fortnight before the 2000 election, the American Muslim Political Co-ordinating Council, a political action group, endorsed George W. Bush for president. The council said he had shown “elevated concern” about the US government’s profiling of Arab-Americans at airports, and about its use of secret evidence against Arab and Muslim immigrants. (Bush had mentioned this issue in a debate with Al Gore.). Bizarre as it now sounds, Bush’s concern for the civil rights of suspected Islamic terrorists possibly won him the election. It is estimated that more than 70 per cent of American Muslims voted for him, and that in the crucial Florida election he polled at least 60,000 more Muslim votes than Gore.



Doug 09.27.03 at 7:22 pm

Well the piece is interesting, but it doesn’t go much of anywhere. In Britain, somehow I just can’t see the Tory candidates and organization warming up to immigrant voters, no matter how socially conservative those immigrants might be.

Likewise Germany. Can anyone out there wrap their mind around a big chunk of Muslim voters plumping for the Christian Democrats? Me neither. Plus on issues, the Social Democrats and the Greens are the ones who put through citizenship reform, green cards and other pro-immigrant policies. The CDU was still nurturing the illusion that German birth rates were going to buck a hundred-year trend, magically rise and rescue the country’s welfare system without immigration. (To say nothing of the right’s attitude toward Turkish entry to the EU, which is inded the best thing to say about the CDU/CSU’s approach to an issue that is, not surprisingly, important to Turkish-Germans.)

I wish I knew enough about the details of French electoral politics to say.

I’d say that on balance Muslim voters tend to vote center-left (or possibly post-materialist, if you will), and that pro-immigrant policies can bring them in to parties on the left side of the spectrum. If they are alienated, they’ll tend to not vote, rather than pull the lever for the center-right parties, most of whom have long anti-immigrant records. The center-right parties also have regular voters who have an antipathy to immigrants and would likely defect to the far right parties if the center-right took a more immigrant-friendly stance. The big European countries have a long way to go to come to grips with immigration before there’s much competition for the immigrant vote.

ps An Australian perspective would be v. interesting.


Nabakov 09.28.03 at 12:38 pm

An Australian perspective would be v. interesting.”

Inner city branchstacking plus reasonably adroit work with multicultural funding bodies does tend to generally produce a mildly Tammany Hall kinda scenerio downunder vis a vis the Muslim vote and Labor.


John Bragg 09.29.03 at 12:14 am

Point of caution on the numbers on the 2000 US election: Those numbers all either come from Grover Norquist, who engineered the alliance between the Republican PArty and the Muslim/Arab political action groups, or from the Muslim/ARab political action groups. Both have a strong interest in inflating both their audience and their effectiveness.

“It is estimated” by those with an interest in inflating the estimate.

I, myself, am a rightwing nut. I’m just sayin’.


Admiral Waugh 09.29.03 at 6:21 am

I remember watching that endorsement for Bush, and it’s not so far fetched as a political alliance. It’s also more than obvious that many Republicans have long been more favorable to certain Arab groups, not the least of which would be those in favor of Palestine-statehood. Also, if I recall from the latest poll numbers, older Jews still tend to be wildly left while the younger ones are beginning to err right… though I am unsure of a correlation with 9/11 for that.

5 10.11.03 at 6:14 pm

Hey my search engine just found this site

please check

Comments on this entry are closed.