One in four U.S. Muslims undecided as election nears


More than 90 percent of American Muslim voters plan to go to the polls on November 6, but one in four have yet to decide who to back, a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group suggested.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said 68 percent of the 500 registered Muslim voters interviewed by pollsters in the first two weeks of October favored President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Another seven percent said they would cast their ballots for Republican challenger Mitt Romney – but the remaining 25 percent had yet to decide between the two candidates.

“These results indicate that a large percentage of American Muslim voters are still open to appeals from presidential candidates, CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

American Muslims are “potentially in a position to decide this year’s election,” he added, alluding to battleground states such as Michigan, home to the largest mosque in North America – the Islamic Center of America – in the city of Dearborn.

More than 1.35 million American adults identify themselves as Muslims, according to the US Census Bureau. CAIR said its poll showed that 91 percent of registered Muslim voters intend to vote.

In the 2008 election, the overall national turnout was 57.4 percent.

The poll, with a margin of error of five percentage points, identified jobs and the economy, education, health care policy, the Medicare insurance program for the elderly and the Social Security social welfare and retirement plan, and civil rights as the top five concerns for American Muslims.

It was conducted by an independent research firm that CAIR did not identify.

The Muslim community in the United States is richly diverse, ranging from South Asian newcomers to U.S.-born descendants of immigrants from the Middle East as well as African Americans.