Anti-Muslim campaigns have spread nationwide but the clear majority of them fail, according to a new report released on October 22 by Muslim Advocates. The group also found no examples of the rhetoric used in Wisconsin.

Running on Hate: 2018 Pre-Election Report maps and analyzes the rhetoric and campaigns of every anti-Muslim candidate it could identify in the 2018 and 2017 elections and is complete with trends, anecdotes, polling and original interviews with voters. Among the key findings of the report:

  • Anti-Muslim campaigns are taking place nationwide. The study identified 80 anti-Muslim campaigns taking place in 33 states and every region of the country, in liberal and conservative jurisdictions, and at every level of office – from local school and planning boards up to governor and Congress. Furthermore, credible candidates are trumpeting anti-Muslim bigotry; 64 percent of the candidates in the study were already elected or appointed officials or have a presidential
  • This rhetoric appeals to a small, hostile, and newly influential sliver of the electorate. The core voters who prefer anti-Muslim candidates will believe and repeat clear and obvious falsehoods in support of anti-Muslim conspiracies.
  • Anti-Muslim candidates face serious blowback from voters. Many candidates in the study faced serious repercussions from voters and community groups and backlash from members of their own party. Some faced recalls and pressure to withdraw, or their entire campaigns became largely defined by their anti-Muslim posture.
  • Anti-Muslim candidates are losing. Of the 80 anti-Muslim candidates identified, only 11 – 14 percent – were elected or are safely projected to win their elections in November 2018, according to Cook Political Report’s forecasting of congressional and gubernatorial races. Almost all of the winning candidates are established incumbents and many of them are facing historically low poll numbers.
  • Voters of every background reject anti-Muslim rhetoric and many do so vehemently. Original public opinion research conducted by Probolsky Research for Muslim Advocates found that super-majorities of voters from almost every demographic and both parties (including the plurality of Trump voters) preferred inclusive pro-Muslim messages over the rhetoric typically employed by anti-Muslim candidates.

“These campaigns are successful at inflaming bigotry and violence against American Muslims, but not much else,” said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director at Muslim Advocates. “The voter data and interviews and the win-loss rates of candidates all point to the same conclusion: campaigning using anti-Muslim hate is a losing strategy. Anti-Muslim campaigns only appeal to a small and hostile sliver of the electorate. Vast majorities from both parties, almost every demographic group and every region prefer candidates who embrace religious freedom for American Muslims over the absurd anti-Muslim conspiracies that are proliferating in campaigns.”