National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans Reveals Continued Concerns About Discrimination

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Emily Porter
Email: emily@paaia.org
Phone: (202) 828-8370

The economy and foreign policy also top issues among survey respondents

Washington, DC – The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, today released the findings of its 2020 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans conducted from September 8th to September 20th of this year, which revealed that more than three-quarters (78%) of respondents expressed concerns about discrimination, citing national rhetoric and policies towards immigrants and Muslims and increased tension between the U.S. and Iran as sources for discrimination. In fact, sixty percent (60%) of respondents reported that they or Iranian Americans they know have faced discrimination because of their ethnicity or country of origin.

“As Election Day nears, these are the issues on the minds of Iranian Americans as they cast their ballots for the future of our country,” said PAAIA Executive Director Leila Austin. “While fears of discrimination loom large among respondents, Iranian Americans of all political affiliations are also worried about the economy, jobs, foreign policy, health care, education and national security. When voting for the president and members of Congress this election, these are the issues our community will be prioritizing.”  

PAAIA has commissioned nationally recognized pollsters to conduct its annual survey of Iranian Americans since 2008. The poll is the only one within the community that has an on-going collection of accurate scientific data. If the election were held today, the majority of Iranian Americans said they would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump by a margin of 56% to 31%, with independent Iranian Americans saying they prefer Biden, 57% to 17%.

The results of the survey also reflect a strong, bipartisan desire among Iranian Americans (58%) to advance democracy and human rights in Iran and a plurality of respondents (44%) believe a grassroots democratic movement is the best way for Iran to move to a more democratic society. Beyond that, Democrats and independents favor lifting the trade embargo (D: 36% I: 29%) and negotiating a new nuclear agreement (D: 32% I: 28%) while Republicans favor a regime change (37%) and limiting Iran’s role in the region (26%).      

“Iranian Americans remain deeply connected to family back in Iran,” explained Austin. “While domestic policies to restart the U.S. economy and get Americans back to work are a priority, so too are strategies that encourage diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran and foster democracy and human rights in the country.”  

Regardless of party affiliation, one-half of respondents (47%) want a more comprehensive deal with Iran that addresses both the nuclear issue as well as Iran’s engagement in regional conflicts. Roughly three-in-ten respondents would prefer returning to the JCPOA while a quarter of those surveyed say they want no deal with Iran. Again, partisan divides highlight the second and third choices of respondents, with 40% of Democrats preferring to return to the JCPOA while 38% of Republicans favor not to return to negotiations with Iran. 

Click here to read the complete report.

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