A recent survey conducted by the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — a massively influential Muslim advocacy which is alleged to have ties to terrorist groups — asked Muslims which presidential candidates they preferred. While Hillary Clinton was their favorite candidate overall, the strongest performer among Republicans runs counter to conventional wisdom: More Muslims chose Donald Trump than any of the other Republicans.
The survey of 1,850 Muslim voters (conducted March 1) found that 11% of Muslims favored Trump. Second place among Republicans was Marco Rubio (4%), with Ted Cruz third (2%) and John Kasich last (1%).
Trump's controversial call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country and shutting down the Syrian refugee program have resulted in the business mogul being labeled "Islamophobic." He added fuel to the fire last week when he said the best way to combat terrorism is to "take out" the families of terrorists.
"[O]ne of the problems we have or one of the reasons we're so ineffective, you know, they're trying to, they're using them as shields. It's a horrible thing," Trump told Fox & Friends. "But we're fighting a very politically correct war. And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families."
Despite the fiery rhetoric, more Muslims were willing to back him than the other three Republican candidates.
The two Democrat candidates were viewed far more favorably by Muslims than their GOP counterparts. Muslim respondents' favorite candidate by a wide margin was Clinton, with 46%, while Bernie Sanders won 25% of their support.
A full two-thirds (67%) of the Muslims surveyed were Democrats. Only 18% identified as Republicans, with the remaining either "Green" (1%), "Libertarian" (1%), "Other" (3%), or declining to answer (10%).
Of the small percentage of Muslims who identified as Republican, 38% said say they viewed the economy as their biggest concern. "Islamophobia" ranked second at 14%, followed by healthcare (12%) and foreign policy (10%).
Here's Trump's call to "take out" terrorists' families: