Tag Archives: Election 2012

Asian Americans were part of Obama Coalition in big numbers, but with some intra-ethnic differences, AALDEF exit poll shows

Last night you heard media citing exit polls about African Americans backing Barack Obama by 93 percent. Latinos were at 71 percent.

And Asian Americans?

Not a mention.

Yet, the group was a big part of the Obama victory.

72 percent  of Asian Americans backed the president, according to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund-backed Election Eve poll. The phone survey sampled  800 Asian American voters in 50 states the weekend before the election. With early voting, nearly half of all poll respondents had already voted.

Asian Indians with 83 percent  gave the strongest support  for Obama, based on the survey’s intra-ethnic data. Vietnamese and Filipinos were the least supportive with 59 and 60 percent respectively for Obama. Consequently, those two groups lead the Asian support for Romney.

The national poll put Romney’s Asian American support at  26 percent, with both Vietnamese and Filipinos groups at 40 percent for the Republican challenger.

But when the question comes to political identity,  41 percent of Asian Americans still dentify as Democrats, with the intra-ethnic numbers showing Filipinos and Japanese, at 50  and 51percent, respectively.

Only 14 percent of Asian Americans  overall identify as Republican, with Korean, Filipino and Vietnamese more so at 23 percent.

What makes Asian Americans interesting in the future for politicos is that 45 percent  called themselves Independent (29 percent), Other (3 percent), or “Don’t Know” (13 percent).

Asian Americans are a group with an evolving political identity. As I’ve said, they’re up for grabs. Going forward, no one should take Asian Americans for granted.

And yet, when asked if anyone from “a campaign, political party, or community organization asked you to vote or register to vote, more than half of all respondents nationally (51 percent) said no.  64 percent  of Indians felt most neglected.

It’s clear, we all should be outraged by the lack of outreach.

Someone missed the boat last night. And it wasn’t just Romney with his “All-White” strategy.

That’s why polls like this one from AALDEF are extremely important. It let’s people know when it comes to participatory politics, Asian Americans are quickly filling the void.


Go vote, then check out this election eve poll of Asian Americans.

I was wrong on the San Francisco Giants. It was Giants in 4, not 7. But will the Giants be wrong in predicting today’s election? Check out how the home team’s state determines the winner in the presidential race nearly 90 percent of the time on my post at www.aaldef.org/blog.


The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund along with the Natioanl Asian Pacific American Coalition for Community Development (CAPACD) conducted a national pre-election day poll. The significance of the poll is that it confirms previous snapshots of the national Asian American community.

We’ve got issues.

This is taken from the AALDEF press release with some added commentary  from me.

* Key concerns: The vast majority of Asian American voters (58%) said that fixing the economy and creating more jobs was the most important issue that politicians should address. Health care and education reform were each cited by 20% of Asian American voters as the most important issue, followed by civil rights/immigration issues (13%).

This snapshot appears to be in line with previous surveys done this campaign season.

 * Political affiliation. Although a large proportion of Asian Americans describe themselves as independent (29%), 41% of Asian Americans are Democrats and 14% of Asian Americans are Republicans.

Confirms the growing independence of Asian Americans, and how the group can no longer be taken for granted and must be addressed by all parties.

* First-time voters.  One in five survey respondents (20%) were first-time voters in the 2012 elections. These Asian Americans are seldom included in mainstream polls. 45% of this group have already voted in states with early voting.

A good reason not to pay too much attention to mainstream exit polls. They’ll never be able to tell you anything about Asian Americans.

 * Voter contacts. Despite their growing interest in the 2012 elections, a majority (51%) of Asian Americans said they were never contacted by a campaign, political party, or community group to register to vote or to vote. Among the 40% who were approached to vote in today’s election, 55% of Asian Americans were contacted by Democratic representatives, 38% by Republicans, and 32% by community organizations.

This I found to be the most startling group of facts. Half of the sample says they were never contacted at all? Where’s the outreach? The outrage?

* Health care. 60% of Asian American voters supported the federal government’s role in ensuring access to health insurance, compared to 23% who believe that people should secure their own health insurance.

I wonder how all the Asian American doctors saw this issue?

* Budget deficit. To address the national budget deficit, 45% of Asian Americans supported a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, with 26% stating that taxes on the wealthy should be increased. Only 14% of Asian Americans supported spending cuts alone to reduce the deficit.

Considering that Asian Americans have the highest per capita income in the country, this is a potentially more meaningful finding. Suggests a sense of tax fairness in the group.

 * Immigration reform. 57% of Asian American voters supported comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. This support was much higher among U.S. born Asian American citizens (73%), compared to foreign-born Asian American citizens (50%).

This could signify a real divide among native and foreign born Asian Americans. How to interpret it is tricky. 

That more U.S. born want reform isn’t so clear. They believe in rule of law? Are they holdovers from the civil rights era? Or maybe they just want all their relatives here? 

And why wouldn’t more foreign born citizens want a pathway to citizenship? Could it be the just don’t care for more competition from new immigrants? Sounds like they’ve  politically morphed into a Southern White male.

*Undocumented youth. 35% of Asian Americans said they were more enthusiastic about President Obama because of his new policy to stop the deportation of undocumented youth who attended college or served in the military (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). 40% of Asian Americans said their vote was not affected by this policy directive, and nearly half (49%) of Asian American voters aged 18 to 30 were more enthusiastic about Obama after he announced the new policy in June 2012.

 This is the future of Asian America. What they think matters.

* News sources. In describing their main source of news about politics and community issues, 41% of Asian Americans got their news from television; 30% from the internet; 16% from newspapers, and 7% from radio. Among specific ethnic groups, a large proportion of Vietnamese American (45%), Chinese American (40%) and Korean American (36%) voters said that Asian-language ethnic media provided their main source of news.

Sad that newspapers’ decline is evidenced here too. Watch for declines in TV as well, as everything switches over to the web.

AALDEF will be coming up with more the day after election.

Meanwhile the polls are about to close in some states.

But don’t let that deter you westward Asian Americans. Your vote matters. Always. Still.

 (Check out AALDEF’s official press release on the poll)