By Heather Yamour
WASHINGTON, June 28 (KUNA) -- Arab American voters view the Iraq war as the
top issue in the 2008 US Presidential elections, most favoring a "phased
withdrawal" from the country, according to a Zogby poll released Thursday.
The poll conducted by Zogby International Arab American Institute showed
the Iraq war as the most decisive issue for all Arab Americans voters,
including US-born, Foreign-born, Christians and Muslims, with 61 percent
ranking it highest overall in the presidential campaign.
The majority of voters, 53 percent, supported a "phased withdrawal from
Iraq", while 29 percent said they preferred an" immediate withdrawal", and 10
percent believed the US should "stay until victory", the poll results showed.
Compared to an earlier Los Angeles Times newspaper poll in which 43 percent
of Americans supported a phased withdrawal of US troops, 25 percent wanted
immediately withdrawal within a year, and 26 percent said "stay until victory.
Support for the Bush administration to "remain in Iraq until victory is
backed by less than one-quarter, 23 percent, of Arab-American Republicans",
the poll stated.
The poll results show a decrease in Arab American affiliation with the
Democratic and Republican parties.
This year, 37 percent of Arab-Americans identified themselves as Democrats
down from 43 percent in 2006; while 26 percent are Republican, compared to 32
percent in 2006. However, there was a dramatic increase in the number of
Independents, now at 28 percent, up from 16 percent in 2006.
When asked to rate President Bush's job in office, an overall 79 percent
gave him a negative rating; including more than half of Arab Republicans, 55
percent. Overall, 18 percent voted positively with eight percent describing
his performance as "excellent" and 10 percent qualifying as "good".
Barack Obama, with 37 percent support from Democratic and Independent Arab
Americans, ranks highest among the Democratic presidential candidates,
followed by Hillary Clinton, with 33 percent, and John Edwards, with 12
On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani, with 32 percent, topped the charts
among Arab American Republicans and Independents, and John McCain in second
place with 28 percent, and Mitt Romney with 16 percent; closely matching with
overall national polls.
Candidates who pledged to engage Israel and Palestinians in peace-building
efforts were more likely to win Arab American votes. The polls found.
"Almost two-thirds of Arab American voters say they would be more likely to
vote for a presidential candidate who promised to take an active role in the
peace process between Israel and the Palestinians," the poll stated.
Support was also high for candidates who promised proactive peace-building
efforts between Israel and Syria, with 58 agreeing they would be more inclined
to offer their support.
Over 63 percent cited "honesty" as the most important characteristic in
determining their choice for president, while 33 percent split between "Moral
character" and "strong leadership" to win their vote.
"The interesting thing here is that strong leadership is not as important
as honesty but it didn't tell us anything about how that would shape the
choice they would make or who they would want for president," Zogby told KUNA.
According to Zogby International, in the past, poll findings have a more
than 95 percent accuracy rate with election-day results.
There are an estimated 3.5 million Arab Americans in the US nationwide,
concentrated in key election states for candidates like Michigan, Ohio, and
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