Voters Express Greatest Concern about Jobs and the Economy
New York—The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) today announced preliminary findings from its multilingual, nonpartisan exit poll of almost 11,000 Asian American voters in eight states. Asian American voters responded to written questionnaires translated into 9 Asian languages at 82 poll sites in 20 cities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Michigan, and Illinois.
AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung said: “The record turnout of Asian American voters demonstrated our community’s extraordinary interest in the electoral process this year. Numerous grass-roots groups across the country focused on increasing Asian American voter registration and turnout, with many new alliances formed across racial and ethnic lines.”
Asian American voters were surveyed in 23 Asian languages and dialects as they left 82 polling places in 8 states:
- By a 3 to 1 margin, Asian Americans favored Senator John Kerry over President George W. Bush, 74% to 24%, with 2% voting for other candidates.
- 38% of Asian Americans polled were first-time voters.
- The most important issues influencing Asian Americans in their vote for President were: Economy/Jobs (27%); War in Iraq (16%); Terrorism/Security (16%); Health care (14%); Civil rights/immigrant rights (12%); Education (8%); Other (4%); and Crime in neighborhoods (3%).
- Among first-time Asian American voters, 78% voted for Kerry, 20% voted for Bush, and 2% voted for other candidates. The most important issues to first-time voters were Economy/Jobs (27%), War in Iraq (17%), and Terrorism/Security (14%).
- Among Bush supporters, the most important issues were Terrorism/Security (33%), Economy/Jobs (18%), and the War in Iraq (12%).
- Among Kerry supporters, the most important issues were Economy/Jobs (29%); War in Iraq (18%), and Health Care (15%).
National exit polls conducted by the National Election Pool (ABC, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC News) and the Los Angeles Times likewise found that Asian American voters favored Kerry over Bush:
- National Election Pool (Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International): With Asian Americans comprising 2% of the total number of voters surveyed nationwide (13,660 voters), 56% of Asian Americans voted for Kerry and 44% voted for Bush.
- Los Angeles Times: With Asian Americans comprising 3% of a national sample of 5,514 voters at 136 polling places (including 3,357 California voters at 50 poll sites statewide), 64% of Asian Americans voted for Kerry and 34% voted for Bush.
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, noting the growing involvement of new citizens in the electoral process. In the 2000 Presidential Election, the AALDEF exit poll surveyed 5,040 Asian American voters in New York City.
Additional results from the 2004 AALDEF exit poll will be released soon, with more detailed information about voter preferences, party enrollment, and issues of concern, need for bilingual voter assistance, and a description of problems faced by Asian American voters at the polls on Election Day.
AALDEF also monitored hundreds of poll sites to document incidents of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement. AALDEF Staff Attorney Glenn D. Magpantay said, “Just like in 2000, this year Asian Americans again faced an array of barriers that prevented them from exercising their right to vote.” AALDEF is analyzing hundreds of reports submitted by volunteer attorneys, poll monitors, and individual voters, describing how local jurisdictions implemented the federal Voting Rights Act and implementation of the new federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and will release a report on its election protection activities in the coming months.
The 2004 AALDEF exit poll, the national multilingual Asian-language hotline and election monitoring activities were conducted with the assistance of several community organizations, including the Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition, Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, Boston Asian Students Alliance, Chinatown Voter Education Alliance, Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund, Korean American Voters’ Council of NY/NJ, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law-Boston, National Asian American Student Conference, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, Providence Youth and Student Movement, South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow, South Asian American Voting Youth, Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Young Korean American Service and Education Center, and Asian Pacific American Law Student Association chapters across the country.