“It’s not a community that any party has a lock on,” says Ismael Ahmed, the executive director of Access, the biggest Arab-American social services agency in the country, which is based in Dearborn. “Especially a community like this one where 60% weren’t born here. We’re not really committed to either party.”
“We were motivated when we backed Bush and we are motivated now,” says Osama Sablini, Aapac’s chairman and publisher of the Arab American newspaper, who backed Mr Bush four years ago. “The Bush administration has been a major disappointment to this community and we cannot afford four more years of this.”
–Under siege since 9/11, Arab voters shift to Kerry
When the dust settles on this election, a significant shift will have taken place in several key demographics. Due to a random twist of fate, this will be especially true in the swing states.
The resulting shift in traditional party affiliations could very well throw the election to the challenger.
Since early this year, we’ve been watching a number of key voting blocs “flip flop” (sorry) away from their prior voting patterns. The demographic ethnic groups with the greatest potential to impact the 2004 Presdiential election are both Cubans and Hispanics in Florida, and the Arabs-Americans in the Midwest.
On numerous occasions this year, we have noted, Cuban American voters in Florida continues to be a potential problem for President Bush in the upcoming election. Further, we similarly observed that the President’s support amongst Arab American’s have tumbled, and significantly for this election, in the swing states.
Whether this is a permanent change of party affiliation, or just a reaction to the present regime, is unknown. But it is clear that major changes are taking place. So says The Guardian:
“You will find more Arab-Americans in California and New York, but you will not find a greater concentration of them than here. One in three people in Dearborn is of Arab origin; Detroit is the biggest Iraqi city outside Iraq.
It is by no means typical. “Unlike anywhere else in America, you could live your whole life in Dearborn in an Arab-American bubble,” says Jennifer Salan of the Arab American Institute (AAI).
But, where electoral politics are concerned, it is important. The latest tracking poll shows the Democrats leading by four percentage points in the swing state of Michigan; Arab-Americans comprise 5% of the state’s vote.
By luck rather than design Arab-Americans are a sizeable force in many swing states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. In a third of the states needed to win the electoral college, Arab-Americans make up more than the gaps between the two parties.
What is more they are up for grabs. In 2000 they backed George Bush. This year they are leaning half-heartedly towards his Democratic challenger, John Kerry. In a close race which will be decided in just a few places, Arab-Americans are a rare and precious phenomenon: a swing constituency in several swing states.”
While Cuban voters may shift by as much as 20% towards the challenger — thats 80,000 votes out of 400,000 statewide — Hispanic voters overall throughout Florida are a very significant bloc.
“Colombians, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are leaning toward Senator John Kerry, polls suggest, though many have registered as independents and the Democrats do not consider their vote a sure thing. Nicaraguans embrace President Bush, and Cubans, while still overwhelmingly Republican, may throw some support to the Democrats for a change.
Little wonder, then, that Florida’s 3.2 million Hispanic residents – the state’s largest minority group, tens of thousands of whom will be first-time voters next month – are among the most coveted voters in the nation this year. . .
A new poll of 800 Florida Hispanics by The Washington Post, Univision and the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute found Mr. Bush leading Mr. Kerry by 61 percent to 32 percent. Mr. Bush drew 81 percent of the Cuban vote, while Mr. Kerry won 42 percent of the Puerto Rican vote and 48 percent of Hispanics who were not Cuban or Puerto Rican.”
There is one other demographic worth noting, only this one is nationwide: Women voters. The challenger appears to have made very significant inroads amongst the so-called security moms:
“Senator John Kerry appears to have reversed his slide among women who are voters and has taken a lead over President Bush in this crucial category, new polls show.
In early September, Mr. Bush led Mr. Kerry among women, 48 percent to 43 percent in the CBS News poll. As of Sunday, in The New York Times/CBS News poll, Mr. Kerry was leading among women who are registered voters, 50 percent to 40 percent. Other polls show Mr. Kerry with a smaller lead among women, but a lead nonetheless.”
The polls may show a statistical tie, but the electoral college is how Presidents get selected. As the internals firm, it is becoming apparent that the a dead heat means a loss for the incumbent.
There are still 10 days, and anything can happen. But unless we see a major event (How long does it take to defrost OBL?), the incumbent is in deep doo doo . . .
Under siege since 9/11, Arab voters shift to Kerry
The Guardian, October 16, 2004
Hispanic Vote in Florida: Neither a Bloc Nor a Lock
By Abby Goodnough
October 17, 2004
Polls Show Gains for Kerry Among Women in Electorate
By Katharine Q. Seelye
NYT, October 20, 2004