Why American Jews and Muslims backed Obama by huge margins

Marc Schneier and Shamsi Ali write:

In addition to having similar dietary laws, customs and rituals, we found out on Nov. 6 that American Jews and American Muslims have another thing in common; each community gave 70 percent or more of its vote during Tuesday’s presidential election to President Obama.

According to two national exit polls, about 70 percent of American Jews supported President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney. A poll conducted in the Muslim community in late October showed that 68 percent of American Muslims backed Obama.

What do these similar vote totals in support of President Obama say about our two communities? First, the results show that majorities of American Jews and American Muslims support President Obama’s vision of an inclusive society where people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds have a chance to succeed….

There is, however, a second reason for the overwhelming support for Obama among American Jews and Muslims; namely that both communities strongly reject the anti-Muslim rhetoric articulated by prominent Republicans during the past several years. For example, national Republican leaders shamelessly demagogued the bogus “Ground Zero mosque” controversy of 2010 and held congressional hearings in 2011 based on the false claim that 80 percent of American mosques support Islamic radicalism. This year some Republican congressional leaders also claimed the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. State Department, while Republican-controlled legislatures in states such as Oklahoma and Kansas passed wholly unnecessary and unconstitutional bans on sharia (Islamic) law.

Despite loud and well-funded efforts to enlist the Jewish community in the Islamophobia campaign of recent years, the majority of American Jews have emphatically rejected it.

Washington Post, 9 November 2012