As Americans approach their upcoming elections, the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) held a Presidential preference survey for 2016, the first of its kind.
[caption id="attachment_2368" align="alignright" width="300"] Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) launched a Presidential preference survey for 2016[/caption]
HALC sought to determine how the support of Greek-Americans could be obtained through the Democratic and Republican nominees. As many as 1200 Greek-Americans from 48 different states responded to the survey which provided some detailed insight.
The survey showed that Greek-Americans were for the Democrats as Trump received most of the votes. 33.5% voted for Trump, with 30.3% for Sanders, and 27.2% voted for Clinton. In favor of two Democratic nominees, the Greek-Americans who responded to the survey have indicated to be 41.4% Democrat, 30.3% Independent and 21.1% Republican.
HALC's study also serves to provide information on how the Greek-American vote can be swayed. Included in the survey were numerous questions about relevant issues and showed that it is indeed possible to influence the votes of Greek-American Independents, as well as the votes of Greek-American Democrats and Republicans.
Surveyors were asked whether they were more likely to vote for a candidate, should he/she issue a position paper on Hellenic issues. The majority voted that this would have an impact, as 73.7% of Greek-American surveyors indicated. Only just over 25% claimed that this would not affect their votes.
The second question which was posed to surveyors was to ask them whether they were more likely to support a candidate, should they have paid a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. A much closer result showed that 49.9% would favor such a candidate, while 48.1% were not affected.
The surveyors were also asked: "If a candidate uses the words the 'occupation' of Cyprus (with respect to Turkey's invasion & occupation since 1974), would you be more likely to support that candidate?" A large percentage, 75.8%, indicated that honesty on the Cyprus issue could change their votes, and only a fraction stated that such comments would have no effect on their vote at all.
Several other issues were covered in the survey regarding the Greek economic crisis, with a substantial amount affirming Sanders' assistance during the economic crisis and refugee crisis. Clinton was noted for her strength on Hellenic issues. Despite this, an even higher percentage of the Greek-American community claimed to trust none of the candidates on either of these matters.
The respondents were, however, involved in the political process, as 94.9% responded by saying I vote," 40.3% saying "I donate," and 23.6% responding with "I volunteer."
The poll provided vital information, which gave HALC Executive Director Endy Zemenides further insight into reaching the Greek-American voters. He realized that the candidates have not been able to gain the trust of even 30% of the Greek-American voters on any of the Hellenic issues, indicating that much work still needs to be done.
Zemenides insists that the level of outreach seen by campaigners has not been significant and that more outreach and position papers are required to improve the support of greek-American voters.