The result was hardly a surprise, noted Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. A 2004 presidential straw poll conducted at MPAC’s annual convention showed President George W. Bush trailing four Democratic contenders, led by Howard Dean, largely because of the former Vermont governor’s staunch criticism of the war in Iraq.
Dean polled 67 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich with 17 percent, retired Gen. Wesley Clark with 8 percent, and Sen. John Kerry with 4 percent. Bush garnered a meager 2 percent of the straw ballots cast by the 800 Muslims at the late December convention held in Long Beach, California. Not even a convention appearance by the White House’s Muslim liaison, Ali Tulbah, appeared to help.