Issues, Not Outreach, Account for Vast Majority of Asian Americans Voting Democratic
Asian American voters were considered a swing voting bloc in the weeks leading up to Election Day, but Obama scooped the Asian American vote by a wide margin, with 72% voting for President Obama and 26% for Mitt Romney. In Congressional races, 73% of Asian American voters backed Democratic candidates, while 27% backed Republicans. Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng became the first Asian American from New York to be elected to Congress.
According to the results of the Asian American Election Eve Poll, a first-time joint project by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), although 41% of Asian Americans tend to vote Democratic, a large proportion of Asian Americans describe themselves as independent (29%), and 14% of Asian Americans are Republicans.
The Asian American Election Eve Poll will supplement the findings of AALDEF’s national Election Day multilingual exit poll, which has been conducted by AALDEF for 24 years.
“The Asian American community was poised to be a swing vote in key states,” said Margaret Fung, AALDEF Executive Director. “One-fifth of Asian Americans in yesterday’s election were also first-time voters. Yet they came out in huge numbers for President Obama.”
Asian American Election Eve Poll Results >
Election Eve Poll Presentation >
Minimal Outreach to Asian American Voters
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 yesterday’s election, 55% of Asian Americans were contacted by Democratic representatives, 38% by Republicans, and 32% by community organizations.
“The continued lack of political outreach to Asian American voters is why AALDEF conducts a national poll monitoring and exit polling program in every major election,” said Fung. “There was clearly room for either Obama or Romney to make a concerted appeal to the Asian American community. Rather, the results of our poll indicate that issues, not outreach, drove Asian Americans to support the Democratic party in yesterday’s polls.”
By a wide margin, Asian Americans said that President Obama cares more about their needs and problems (47%) than Governor Romney (14%).
Among the key findings on issues: (more available here)
- 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.
The Asian American Election Eve Poll
The Asian American Election Eve Poll was telephone survey of 800 Asian American voters in 50 states conducted this past weekend (Nov. 2 to 4). 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.
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.