More thoughts on the National Asian American Survey

I’m surprised there’s not been  much reported on the new National Asian American Survey released this past week. There’s some really interesting insight on the non-m0nolithic nature of the group.

You can find links to the survey and  read my take on the NAAS on  the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

Personally, I am fascinated that a poll finally can drill down and say what specific Asian American communities think, merely because they were asked in large enough sample sizes. But does anyone else care about being able to drill down to plus/minus 7 percent accuracy on how the Hmong feel?

 The value is clear because data still trumps ignorance. In lieu of the pricey and work-intensive  NAAS, all you have is anecdote, guessing and lobbyists trading favors with politicos in order to get things done. 

Then again, maybe we are putting too much value in the data. Could it be Asian Americans could be better off without anyone knowing specifics?

We’re 31 percent undecided, and the politicos still don’t seem to care.

The fact is there are still a relatively small number of Asian Americans in the electorate.

We aren’t quite where the Latinos and blacks are yet. Maybe in another generation.

We’re still a group that has to make things happen in coalition. And that’s what the NAAS does show.

The survey shows we’re independent and changeable. Filipinos have gone from primarily Democratic to now mostly Republican in 4 years. Vietnamese have migrated away from being the GOP’s favorite boat people, to  a more moderate, independent stance.

When Pew did a study on Asian Americans earlier this year, the headline seemed to be how Pew’s data was used to perpetuate and solidify the “Model Minority” idea,  that notion of the stereotypical Asian American success.

For me, the NAAS survey, explodes any sense of a poltical “Model Minority,” the one that presumes  we are all one big happy Asian American community and  political block.  We aren’t. The NAAS documents how the monolithic Asian America is a myth. Asian America  may slightly tilt toward Democrats for now. But witihin the group, the actions of Filipinos and Vietnamese suggest a more tactical sense of how to play politics.