The Politics of Muslims in the 21st Century
Are they Democrats? Are they liberals?
Well, I posted a graph on Twitter. And I wrote an objective view of what the data is saying. And things got wild on the Bird Site. (For the record, I am never going to call it X. That’s stupid. It’s Twitter.) You can see the original tweet here.
Here’s all I wrote:
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Highest for Biden:
Black Protestant: 88%
Highest for Trump:
White evangelical: 81%
Orthodox Christian: 68%
White Catholic: 59%
Lotta folks who quote tweeted that one loved to intimate the phrase “lone bulwark,” which a reference to this tweet which states that, “White evangelicals are the lone bulwark against moral insanity in America.”
Almost all of them were anonymous accounts, by the way. Do with that what you will.
But the other thing that surprised people was the Muslim finding - they were almost unanimously Biden voters during the 2020 presidential election. I guess the thought here is that Muslims tend to be religiously and socially conservative and thus it would make them less likely to vote for the Democrats. I guess I could see how people got there, but the data just doesn’t tell that story.
Before I go headlong into the data let me point something out: there aren’t that many Muslims in the United States and that makes them really hard to poll. The Cooperative Election Study is really the only option that exists. The 2008 CES had 32,800 respondents. 100 were Muslim. Things get better in the 2020 sample. Out of 61,000 respondents, there were 438 Muslims.
Obviously, I would like a bigger sample than this. But those just don’t exist. This is the best that we’ve got but understand that the number of Muslims being analyzed here is fairly low.
When Muslims went to the ballot box in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020, how did they vote? Overwhelmingly for the Democrat, is the answer.
In 2008, 94% of Muslims backed Barack Obama over John McCain. In his reelection bid four years later, Obama didn’t do quite as well. He only got 85% of the Muslim vote in 2012. Clinton did slightly worse among Muslims in 2016, earning just 81% of their votes but those losses were not really picked up by Trump. He only got 14% of the Muslim vote and slightly less than 5% were third party voters. In 2020, ~90% of Muslims voted for Joe Biden and Trump got the remainder.
From this angle, it’s pretty clear that the Muslim vote is a solid blue one. That’s been the case in every single election in the last four and that share vacillates between 80% and 90%. But who you vote for is just one way to assess the overall political and ideological position of a group.
Let’s look at this another way using the same data. The Cooperative Election Study asks folks to place themselves on a seven-point partisan scale running from 1 (Strong Democrat) to 7 (Strong Republican) and a five-point ideological scale that runs from 1 (very liberal) to 5 (very conservative). Here’s where the average Muslim is positioned in the last four presidential election years.
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