WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (AFP)--More than 70 percent of Muslim American voters voted for Texas Governor George W. Bush in the presidential election, a poll released Friday said.

The governor garnered 72 percent of the Muslim vote compared with Vice President Al Gore's 8 percent, in what the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) billed as a victory for the campaign to deliver a bloc vote for the Republican presidential candidate.

The Lebanese-American consumer activist and long-shot Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader, polled 19 percent of the Muslim vote, according to exit polls taken by CAIR. Nader is a Christian.

"Muslim voters clearly followed the lead of Islamic political groups in voting for George W. Bush. This signals that a Muslim voting bloc must be taken into consideration in future elections," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

The Muslim community endorsed Bush in October, citing his outreach to their community and his pledge to end the use of so-called secret evidence in immigration deportation hearings.

A full 85 percent of the voters surveyed said the endorsement by the American Muslim Political Coordinating Council Political Action Committee (AMPCC-PAC) was a factor in their decision, according to CAIR.

CAIR questioned 1,774 Muslim voters in California, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Texas and New Jersey. CAIR estimates there are around six million Muslims in the United States.

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