April 22, 2016

NIAC Survey Shows Growing Concern About Discrimination

Iranian Americans’ concerns about discrimination has grown significantly in the last year, a recent survey by NIAC Action finds.  The annual survey of NIAC’s donors and other supporters, which had nearly 1,500 respondents, helps NIAC establish its priorities for the coming year.

A majority of respondents indicated that they feel affected by anti-Middle Eastern and anti-Muslim rhetoric.  Previous NIAC surveys had consistently found that preventing war and strengthening U.S.-Iran relations was the clear priority of most respondents.  This year, opposing discriminatory policies and supporting peaceful relations between the U.S. and Iran were in a virtual tie for NIAC’s top advocacy priority.

Although NIAC Action does not currently plan to endorse any candidates for President, respondents were polled about their preference for President.  Bernie Sanders won support from a majority, 62%, followed by Hillary Clinton at 19%.  11% were undecided, 8% said “other”, and John Kasich came in at 2%.  Donald Trump and Ted Cruz each garnered less than 1% support.

NIAC surveys of its supporters have consistently mirrored the views of the majority of Iranian Americans, as expressed in  statistical surveys of the broader Iranian-American community conducted by universities and professional pollsters.

Here’s a breakdown of the top results:

Ranking Priorities: Opinions about priorities for NIAC became more evenly mixed than in previous years, when concern about a U.S.-Iran war was the clear priority for most respondents. Asked to rank NIAC’s priorities from 1 to 4, respondents’ selections were nearly equally spread.

Opposing Discrimination: On a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the highest, NIAC supporters selected opposing discriminatory and anti-immigrant policies as NIAC’s top advocacy priority with an average score of 2.21.

Strengthening Peace: 97 percent of NIAC supporters believed NIAC should continue its work to strengthen peaceful relations between the U.S. and Iran. Respondents chose supporting peace as NIAC’s second highest advocacy priority with an average score of 2.28, nearly matching the discrimination issue.

Easing Sanctions: With an average score of 2.44, NIAC supporters selected easing economic sanctions and lifting the U.S. trade embargo as the third highest priority.

Human Rights: Supporting human rights in Iran was ranked as the fourth priority, coming in at a 3.08 average score.

Discrimination and Racism: Most NIAC supporters indicated that they feel affected by negative sentiments in the U.S. against Middle Easterners, Muslims, or both. Twenty percent said they feel very affected and 40 percent said they feel somewhat affected, while 29 percent said they do not feel affected. Seven percent said they are unsure.

Asked to choose what types of discrimination has impacted their lives, most respondents said they feel affected by political rhetoric against Iranians, at 77 percent. This was closely followed by negative media’s negative depictions of Iranians (66%) and political rhetoric against Muslims (51%). Thirty-five percent of respondents said they were affected by racial profiling during travel.

We wish to thank all those who took part in this year’s survey. Your participation ensures that our community is unified as we move forward to tackle the most pressing issues confronting Iranian Americans. We look forward to working together to accomplish our goals and increase our community’s political influence in the years to come.


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