Despite calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants and advocating for a registry of all Muslims living in the United States, Donald Trump received nearly three times the amount of support from Muslims in the 2016 presidential election as Mitt Romney got four years ago, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The exit poll surveying 2,000 registered Muslim voters conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations showed that Hillary Clinton commanded 74 percent of the vote from the Muslim community. Yet 13 percent indicated they voted for Trump, significantly higher than the 4.4 percent who cast their support for Republican candidate Romney when he ran against President Barack Obama in 2012.
American Muslims were cast into the spotlight during the 2016 election after a series of attacks in California, Florida and Paris by individuals espousing extremist Islamic ideology prompted Trump to call for tougher policies monitoring Muslims. Since Trump defeated Clinton two weeks ago, one of his advisers has indicated that a Muslim registry is being considered.
Hate crimes committed against Muslims in the United States skyrocketed by 67 percent in 2015, according to recently released FBI statistics. Many Muslim officials have been left in no doubt as to the root cause of the violence.
“This is a benchmark year for violence and acts of hatred against members of the Muslim community,” Robert McCaw, director of government affairs at CAIR, told International Business Times ahead of the election. “I think when Trump has mainstreamed Islamophobia as acceptable public speech, that is going to embolden the bigots and racists inclined to commit acts of hate to do so.”
Since Trump became president-elect, there has been another spike in hate crimes, many targeting Muslims. In the week immediately following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 51 anti-Muslim incidents across the country.
The 2016 election drove Muslims to the polls. Several initiatives were launched to increase turnout and, according to CAIR’s exit poll, the efforts resulted in 90 percent of the American-Muslim electorate exercising their vote.
"Muslim were more energized and engaged this election than ever before, turning out in record numbers," McCaw said in a press release.
The increased percentage of Muslims voting for Trump over Romney follows similar figures from other minority communities. Trump also got a higher percentage of the black and Latino vote compared with Romney's support in 2012.