Asian Americans back Bernie Sanders in new Field Poll in California, but don’t jump to conclusions–yet
Hillary Clinton changed her schedule and is back in California campaigning
again. And it wasn’t just to give that policy speech in San Diego.
Her words were like scuds at the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald
Trump, of the now defunct Trump University.
Clinton could have given that speech anywhere.
But her presence was required in the Golden State to stave off that
hard-charging Bernie Sanders.
Seems like June in California has become maple syrup time for the Vermont
Californians, especially Asian Americans, seem to like the sweet taste.
In the nation’s most Asian American state, the latest Field Poll is showing
Clinton and Sanders virtually deadlocked, with Clinton at 45 percent, Sanders 43
percent. Undecideds were at 12 percent.
Where was Sanders’ support?
Among Asian Americans, apparently.
The Field Poll
had Asian Americans backing Sanders by a whopping 47 percent to 34 percent over
No wonder Hillary ditched Jersey to stump a bit more in California.
California’s Asian Americans are considered to be among the most loyal
Clintonites since Bill blew a saxophone in the White House.
But somehow the Field Poll breakouts show an alarming demographic shift.
Among Whites, at 56 percent of the electorate, Clinton has a slight 44-43 edge
over Sanders, a virtual dead heat.
Latinos, at 26 percent of the electorate, also give Clinton a slightly wider
edge, 46-42 percent.
But African Americans, at 9 percent of the electorate, give Clinton the widest
margin 57-36 percent.
Leave it to the Asian Americans to buck that trend.
It’s a normal Asian American poll spread, with a high percentage of undecided
voters, 19 percent.
But with Asian Americans 11 percent of the electorate, I didn’t predict a
Sanders dominance over Clinton by 47-34 percent.
I recall last January when Filipino American philanthropist and activist Loida
Lewis led a campaign bus tour of California to rally Asian Americans for Hillary
in Southern California.
Back then, Sanders was nowhere in the polls and Hillary was already deemed
Now, despite most mainstream media sentiment that Clinton is still the
“presumptive” nominee, Sanders is closing in with a vengeance.
And who likes him more than anyone else? Asian Americans.
The Field Poll is a reputable poll. I’ve known Mark DiCamillo, the pollster, for
many years, and we’ve discussed the difficulty in polling Asian Americans
You have to poll in-language. You have to oversample. Even in California.
I asked Mark about the big lead, and he put it in perspective.
“As was indicated in our poll report, the sample of Asian Americans included in
our sample of California voters likely to participate in next week’s Democratic
Presidential primary election was small,” DiCamillo said. “The total number of
interviews that we completed among all likely voters in the Democratic primary
was 571. Of these, 10% were Asian Americans, so results from the Asian American
subsample would be subject to a sampling error of +/- 14 percentage points.”
So there goes the 13 point Sanders lead? “While the poll indicates a 13-point
lead for Sanders, because of the large sampling error ranges applicable to this
subgroup, we really can’t say with any degree of certainty who is ahead among
the state’s Asian American voters,” DiCamillo said.
“So, I wouldn’t lean too much on this one poll to draw conclusions. Next week’s
exit poll of California voters will likely provide more definitive results since
its sample size will be much larger.”
It might make Clinton supporters feel a bit more relaxed.
But if anyone doubted Sanders’ broad appeal, a diverse state like California is
proving them all wrong. The Field Poll showed Sanders is still trending, with
more enthusiastic support than Clinton has.
It almost begs for a side-by-side comparison.
We used to call them debates. They used to have them in California. But not this
There were debates earlier in the campaign in Iowa and Wisconsin, where there
aren’t many Asian Americans, and no one talked about our issues. We were
invisible and had to interpolate “Asian Americans” where we could.
But on our country’s ethanol policy?
It doesn’t make sense that in the state that would be the world’s seventh
largest economy, none of California’s issues get raised when it matters. And the
issues are pretty California-specific.
Example: what’s the federal policy on the drought?
A presidential debate in California before the June 7th primary does not.
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page. The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.