POLL OF ARAB AMERICANS FINDS DISAPPROVAL OF BUSH AND INCREASED RACIAL PROFILING-Andrew Stelzer

08/26/04

For the first time in months, a mainstream media poll has been released showing that President Bush is gaining on John Kerry in the race for President this November. A Los Angeles poll times is giving Bush, a three-point lead over Kerry, 47 percent to 44 percent, with independent candidate Ralph Nader, receiving 3 percent. Last month John Kerry led Bush by 2 percentage points last month. But among Arab Americans, Kerry is leaving President Bush far behind, and support for Bush has continued to slip over the last 3 years—thats according to a new survey conducted of 600 Arab Americans. The unique poll asked Arab-Americans about their views on the election, racial profiling, and the patriot act, among many issues---WMNF’s Andrew Stelzer has more.

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ACT "A majority of Arabs say that Iraq is a puppet of the US" According to Sergio Bendixen from Bendixen and associates, which analyzed the poll that’s just one of the results of an opinion survey which tried to find out what Arab American think about life and politics in the US since September 11th. The survey included 100 Iranian Americans, 100 Pakistani Americans, and 400 other Arab Americans who come from over a dozen different countries, ranging from Somalia to Iraq to Bangladesh. 49 percent of Arab American voters say they intend to vote for John Kerry, while only 16 percent plan to vote for Bush, with 16 percent reporting they will vote for Ralph Nader, who is part Arab himself.

ACT--p 16? "73 percent give a negative rating to bush on war on Iraq...very different that general pop according to other polls."

Part of the problem is that Arab Americans may not see Iraq as much of a threat. 61 percent of Arab Americans surveyed said that the biggest problem faced by the United States in terms of mid east policy is the conflict in Israel and Palestine, while only 19 percent thought that violence in Iraq was a threat to the US. But the poll did find a significant difference between the opinions of Iranian-Americans and other Arabs

ACT "Iranians seem to say two things similar...but there are difference of opinion, 51 percent of Iranians thing the US made the right decision..also Iranians say we should stay in Iraq...also we asked about Iran to those living in US..."

Most studies show that in the 2000 election, George Bush received a majority of the Arab American vote, but the events following 9-11 seem to have radically changed those peoples opinions of the president. 54 percent of Arab Americans said that bush mislead the American population in relation to the invasion of Iraq, and 55 percent said the US made the wrong decision which they decided to invade, this is 14 points higher than the overall US population, where 41 percent think it was a mistake. Chamal Digiani is a host of mosaic, news from the Middle East, a show on link TV. He says the disapproval of President Bush has a lot to do with the way Arab-Americans have been treated as part of the so called “WAR ON TERROR�

ACT 'In October 2001, people thought bush was helping their civil rights, but now its very different."

Racial profiling of Arab Americans has risen sharply, according to the survey, which was conducted by New California Media. Arabs are more than 3 times more likely to experience discrimination than non-Latino whites since the September 11th attacks

ACT "Have you been mistreated? 16, 10, yes yes yes ,..and it significant to note that whites only 3 percent."

Digiani says the post 9-11 fear of Arabs propaganda is affecting his family.

ACT "My son was stopped at the airport.

But according to Bendixen, there’s a very clear difference within the Arab population regarding what kind of discrimination they suffered

ACT 'Lighter skinned ones get it at airport, Pakistanis who are dark skinned get it from cops."

The way the poll was conducted itself is a political act.

ACT 'NC has been trying to convince the pollsters that if you want a real picture, use their language.

And analysis of the survey in terms of what it means for the country, is also up for debate—while the US census bureau says there are 575,000 Arab American eligible to vote, the council on American Islamic relations and other Arab community groups estimate that number to be more than twice that, between 1 and 2 million. Chamal Digiani says the inaccurate statistics are likely to get worse because of policies related to racial profiling.

ACT "Recently, the census bureau has shared information, due to this, they will be less inclined."

And this new information gathering policy is coupled with a fear based on experience.

ACT 'Percentages who have had friends deported."

The poll also found that Arab American tend to prefer media which is targeted to their communities, or comes from their countries of origin, as opposed to mainstream US media. However, Digiani explained that this sometimes prevent Arab-Americans from getting information about important US policies that may effect their lives.

ACT 'It was surprising that they don’t know about the patriot act...its because they rely on media from their home country, which doesn’t inform them on patriot act US issues."

to see the poll of Arab Americans views on discrimination, the war, and the presidential election, log onto www.ncmonline.com/polls

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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