Politics and Religion

Articles

Identity, Attitudes, and the Voting Behavior of Mosque-Attending Muslim-Americans in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections

Dennis Pattersona1 c1, Gamal Gasima2 c1 and Jangsup Choia1 c1

a1 Texas Tech University

a2 Grand Valley State University

Abstract

In a post-September 11 world, no religious group in the United States has become more important yet remains more misunderstood than Muslim-Americans. This is particularly true with respect to the manner in which religious and political attitudes influence Muslim-Americans’ political behavior. This article addresses this issue by using data gathered from surveys taken in 70 mosques throughout the United States. With these data, this article maps the political and religious attitudes and behavior of mosque-attending Muslim-Americans and then analyzes the voting behavior of these respondents in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. It will show that the cultural and religious traditions of Islam have resulted in most mosque-attending Muslim-Americans being social conservatives and, as a result, report having voted for Bush in 2000. It will also show that increasingly negative perceptions of the manner in which the United States war in Iraq has affected Muslims living American led many to switch loyalties and cast their ballots for Kerry in 2004.

(Online publication April 26 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dennis Patterson or Jangsup Choi, TexasTech University, 2500 Broadway, Lubbock, TX 79409. E-mail: dennis.patterson@ttu.edu; or to Gamal Gasim, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI 49401. E-mail: gasimg@gvsu.edu

Dennis Patterson is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA in 1995. He is the author of the book, The Japan that never was: Explaining the rise and decline of a misunderstood country. He has also contributed articles to World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, The British Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Asian Survey and other journals.

Gamal Gasim is an Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies and Political Science at Grand Valley State University, earned his Ph.D. in political science from Texas Tech University. Before Grand Valley, he taught at Texas Tech, University of Wisconsin-Madison during the summers of 2006 and 2007, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Beloit College during the summers of 2008 and 2009, respectively. His research interests include Islamic political parties, elections, Muslim Americans, and higher education in the Middle East.

Jangsup Choi is an Instructor of Political Science at Texas Tech University. His research interests include the U.S. Congress, presidential study, campaigns and elections, political behavior, and state politics. He is currently working on a project investigating how electoral systems influence nomination strategies and representation in U.S. state legislatures.

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