Asian Americans sup­ported Democrats in elec­tions: Polls

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICAS - By NIU YUE in New York

Asian Amer­i­can vot­ers in 11 states and Wash­ing­ton largely sup­ported Demo­cratic can­di­dates in the 2014 mid-term elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary re­sults of an exit poll, and a poll on elec­tion eve showed that Asian Americans in three states — Cal­i­for­nia, Texas and Vir­ginia — fa­vored Demo­cratic can­di­dates over Repub­li­cans by 2 to 1.

The exit poll re­leased on Wed­nes­day by the Asian Amer­i­can Le­gal De­fense and Ed­u­ca­tion Fund (AALDEF) was a mul­ti­lin­gual survey of over 4,200 Asian-Amer­i­can con­ducted by AALDEF in New York, Vir­ginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Mas­sachusetts, Texas, Michi­gan, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ne­vada, Ge­or­gia, Louisiana and Wash­ing­ton. The poll showed 59 per­cent of the Asian Amer­i­can were regis­tered Democrats and 26 per­cent regis­tered as Repub­li­cans. Fi­nal re­sults of the poll will be re­leased on Fri­day, in­clud­ing the mar­gin of er­ror, ac­cord­ing to AALDEF, which pro­vides support for Asian Americans on civil lib­er­ties and vot­ing prob­lems.

The sec­ond poll, done by Asian Amer­i­can De­ci­sions, a joint multi-lan­guage ef­fort by re­search company Pa­cific Mar­ket Re­search and three univer­sity pro­fes­sors, sur­veyed 1,150 Asian Americans be­tween Oct 30 and Nov 4 in the three key states. It showed that in races for the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, 66 per­cent of Asian Americans voted for Democrats and 34 per­cent for Repub­li­cans. The poll’s mar­gin of er­ror was 4 per­cent. That poll also showed re­spon­dents strongly support Oba­macare, im­mi­gra­tion re­form and the use of af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion in col­lege ad­mis­sions.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2010 Cen­sus, there are about 17.3 mil­lion Asian Americans in the United States, or 5.6 per­cent of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion. They are the fastest-grow­ing elec­torate group, the AAD re­port said. In the 1996 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Asian Americans ac­counted for 1.6 per­cent of all votes cast. In 2012 race for the White House, the per­cent­age more than dou­bled to 3.4 per­cent.

In con­tested states, “Asian Amer­i­can num­bers are not as large, but ev­ery vote will mat­ter,” Mar­garet Fung, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of AALDEF, said in an of Asian Americans sur­veyed fa­vored for­mer sec­re­tary of state Hil­lary Clin­ton for the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in races for the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, 66 per­cent of Asian Americans voted for Democrats in­ter­view on Tues­day.

In Vir­ginia, the AALDEF poll showed Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers in Vir­ginia fa­vored US Se­nate Demo­cratic can­di­date Mark Warner 66 per­cent to 33 per­cent for his Repub­li­can op­po­nent, Ed Gille­spie. The AAD poll in Vir­ginia gave a sim­i­lar re­sult: 68 per­cent to 29 per­cent.

Warner de­feated Gille­spie by a mar­gin of 0.77 per­cent. Ac­cord­ing to the 2010 Cen­sus, 5.5 per­cent Vir­ginia’s pop­u­la­tion is Asian Amer­i­can.

The AAD exit poll also sur­veyed Asian-Amer­i­can vot­ers’ opin­ions on so­cial is­sues and the re­spon­dents showed a lib­eral pref­er­ence.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health­care plan re­ceived 52 per­cent support, com­pared with 37 per­cent op­pos­ing it. Com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form, which would in­clude an even­tual path to cit­i­zen­ship, was sup­ported by 60 per­cent ver­sus 26 per­cent who said no. Asian Americans over­whelm­ingly sup­ported rais­ing the hourly min­i­mum wage to $10.10 from $7.2 5 by 74 per­cent to 18 per­cent, and af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion on col­lege ad­mis­sions, 63 per­cent to 26 per­cent.

For the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the AAD poll showed Asian Americans fa­vor­ing for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hi­lary Clin­ton by 62 per­cent. As for Repub­li­can hope­fuls in­cluded in the survey -- For­mer Florida gov­er­nor Jeb Bush, Ken­tucky US Se­na­tor Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov­er­nor Chris Christie, Texas US Se­na­tor Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov­er­nor Bobby Jin­dal — none re­ceived a fa­vor­a­bil­ity rat­ing of more than 25 per­cent, the survey showed.

“Asian Americans know who she (Clin­ton) is and most like them, but she can­not take them for granted,” said Taeku Lee, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, and a re­searcher with Asian Amer­i­can De­ci­sions.

Lee said the turnout rate for Asian Americans has been his­tor­i­cally low com­pared with other eth­nic groups. In the 2010 mid-term elec­tion, the AsianAmer­i­can turnout rate was 30 per­cent, while the per­cent­age for whites was 48 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post. In 2012, the turn out for whites was 64 per­cent to 47 per­cent for Asian Americans, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

Fung said voter reg­is­tra­tion rate among Asian Americans needs to be in­creased and then po­lit­i­cal par­ties need to mo­ti­vate them to vote.

Lu Hui­quan in New York con­trib­uted to the story.

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