November 6, 2012 — A new national poll of Asian American voters has revealed their emerging role as politically active citizens in the 2012 elections and some surprising views on key policy issues, such as immigration reform and the budget deficit.
In a telephone survey of 800 Asian American voters in 50 states conducted this past weekend (Nov. 2 to 4), the Election Eve Poll shows that diverse Asian groups share certain common political interests. They support a federal role in ensuring access to health care and housing, and would support higher taxes on the wealthy to address the national deficit. The poll also revealed that many Asian American voters were never contacted by any political campaign or political party during the long 2012 election season, despite large numbers of undecided and independent Asian American voters.
Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based national civil rights group, said, “With unprecedented grassroots voter mobilization efforts taking place this year, we expect Asian American voter turnout will be high. Our community is set to influence the presidential election in swing states and in key local races across the country.”
The Asian American Election Eve Poll, a joint project of AALDEF and National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), was designed to supplement the findings of AALDEF’s national Election Day multilingual exit poll, which has been conducted by AALDEF for more than 20 years.
A webinar to share the data and discuss the results will be held on Wednesday, November 7, at 3 pm EST / 12 noon PST at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/127010519.
Among the key findings of the Election Eve Poll:
- 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.
- Most important issues. 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%).
- First-time voters. One in five survey respondents (20%) were first-time voters in the 2012 elections. These newly-registered voters are often not included in mainstream polls. 45% of this group have already voted in states with early voting.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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%).
- 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, but 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.
- 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.
Other Election Eve Poll findings, reflecting the Asian American vote for President and congressional candidates, will be released after the polls close tonight.
The poll was co-sponsored by AALDEF and National CAPACD, and conducted by Latino Decisions, an opinion research firm, with Professor Natalie Masuoka of Tufts University and analysis by AALDEF consultant Nancy Yu.
2012 Asian American Election Eve Poll Results Media Webinar
To provide a more accurate profile of the Asian American electorate and its voting preferences, The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) will hold a webinar to discuss the results of the first ever Asian American Election Eve Poll. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 7, at 3 pm EST / 12 noon PST.
The URL for the webinar is: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/127010519.
Ujala Sehgal, Communications Coordinator
Margaret Fung, Executive Director
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.