Findings Illuminate Filipino American Voting Patterns, Party Enrollment, Voter Priorities for 2008 Elections, and Voting Barriers
New York, NY—Today the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released detailed findings from its multilingual exit poll of hundreds of Filipino American voters during the November 2006 midterm elections. AALDEF, a 33-year-old civil rights organization, polled more than 4,700 Asian American voters in 23 cities and in nine states on Election Day nationwide. AALDEF surveyed a total of 308 Filipino American voters in nine states: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
Said AALDEF Staff Attorney Glenn Magpantay, “Filipino Americans are a growing segment of the electorate. During the mid-term elections, Filipino American voters made their voices heard in key U.S. Senate races, expressed strong opinions about priorities for the 2008 elections, and held strong opinions about family reunification and allowing the undocumented to legalize their status in immigration reform policy.”
“AALDEF’s findings on the Filipino American electorate tracks well with what we have learned on the field,” says Gloria T. Caoile, Co-Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) FilVote program. “The exit polls show correlations to length of stay, education, and civic participation. Filipino Americans set roots, become citizens and vote. It’s their belief in America ‘s future that drives them to the polls.”
Said Perry Diaz, Co-Chair of NaFFAA FilVote, “Political awareness is the key ingredient to empowerment. I believe that the Filipino-American community has the numbers to make a difference in the American electoral process. FilVote’s role is to make political awareness a priority because only through education can we bring our community to a consciousness that ‘the power of the vote’ drives real economic progress and eventually political empowerment.”
The Filipino American Vote in the 2006 Midterm Elections
On Election Day, November 7, 2006, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), with the help of several co-sponsoring organizations and more than 600 attorneys, law students, and volunteers, conducted a nonpartisan, multilingual exit poll of over 4,700 Asian American voters. The questionnaire was available in English and nine Asian languages. Voters were surveyed in 23 cities across nine statesNew York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Washingtonas well as Washington, D.C.
As part of this effort, AALDEF surveyed a total of 308 Filipino American voters. Highlights of the findings include:
Profile of respondents.
Most Filipino American voters were surveyed in the following states: New York (44%), New Jersey (15%), Virginia (12%), and Maryland (11%). Eighty-five percent (85%) were foreign-born citizens. One out of five (22%) respondents had no formal U.S. education, and 10% were first-time voters. Ten percent (10%) of respondents expressed that they were limited English proficient, and 16% identified English as their native language.
A majority of Filipino Americans voted for Democratic candidates.
Nearly three out of four (74%) Filipino Americans voted for the Democratic candidate in their states top-ballot race. Twenty-four percent (24%) voted for the Republican candidate, and 2% voted for other candidates.
Most Filipino Americans were registered Democrats.
Over half (51%) of Filipino American respondents were registered Democrats, while 22% were registered Republicans, and nearly a quarter (24%) were not enrolled in any political party.
Economy/Jobs was the most important issue Filipino Americans identified for 2008 presidential candidates to address.
The three most important issues for 2008 presidential candidates to address were: Economy/Jobs (27%), Health Care (20%), and the War in Iraq (14%). Other issues of concern included: Education (12%), Terrorism/Security (11%), Immigration (10%), and Moral Issues (5%).
Filipino Americans supported reducing immigration backlogs and the legalization of undocumented immigrants, while they opposed criminalizing the undocumented.
Of those who gave an opinion, 89% of Filipino American said they favored reducing the amount of time the government takes to process paperwork for immigrants waiting to enter the country. Additionally, 89% of respondents said they favored creating a way for undocumented immigrants to legalize their status. Seventy percent (70%) of respondents also said they opposed making being undocumented a crime.
Many Filipino Americans have been affected by anti-immigrant sentiment.
Sixteen percent (16%) of respondents said they had been affected by anti-immigrant sentiment in at least one of the following locations: at work, at school, or in a public location. Of those, over half (52%) said they had been affected by anti-immigrant sentiment in public locations.
Filipino American voters encountered unlawful ID requirements.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that only certain first-time voters provide identification to vote. Yet 89% of Filipino American voters asked to show identification in order to vote were not required to do so under this federal law.
AALDEF’s multilingual exit polls reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. Nearly 11,000 Asian American voters in eight states and 3,000 in four states were surveyed in the 2004 and 2002 exit polls, respectively. More than 30 community groups and organizations joined AALDEF to mobilize more than 600 attorneys, law students, and volunteers to conduct the exit poll and to safeguard the voting rights of Asian Americans.
AALDEF Exit Polls
AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. Nearly 11,000 Asian American voters in eight states (NY, NJ, MA, MI, IL, PA, RI, VA) were surveyed in AALDEFs 2004 exit poll. Over 3,000 Asian American voters in four states (NY, NJ, MA, MI) were surveyed in 2002, and over 5,000 Asian New Yorkers were surveyed in 2000.
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
Organization of Chinese Americans
People For the American Way Foundation
South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Asian Bar Association of Washington
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, DC Area
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center DC
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
Chinatown Voter Education Alliance NY
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership DC
Filipino American Human Services, Inc. NY
Greater Boston Legal Services, Asian Outreach Unit
Korean American League for Civic Action NY
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center IL
Korean American Voters Council of NY & NJ
ONE Lowell MA
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
YKASECEmpowering the Korean American Community NY
The Sikh Coalition NY
South Asian Youth Action! NY
Vietnamese American Initiative for Development MA
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association chapters across the country.
For More Information, Contact:
Glenn D. Magpantay, Staff Attorney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Redondo, Voting Rights Public Education Coordinator, email@example.com
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
99 Hudson Street, 12th floor
New York, NY 10013