Record turnout of Asian-American voters

Dec 13, 2012

(Phys.org)—Asian American voters showed an enthusiastic and rapidly growing electorate that turned out for candidates and issues that impact Asian American and Pacific Islander families and communities, according to preliminary findings of a post-election poll released today (Dec. 12).

The preliminary report, "Behind the Numbers: Post-Election Survey of Asian American in 2012," was released by the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, along with Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and the National Asian American Survey (NAAS). The NAAS was directed by Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside.

The survey was conducted in nine , in addition to English and Spanish, and is the most comprehensive of its kind. It demonstrates the strength, breadth and depth of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters, many of whom showed no party affiliation but still broke by 71 percent for President Barack Obama. The preliminary report can be found at www.advancingequality.org/files/2012_12_Preliminary_Report_AAPI_Voting_FINAL.pdf.

"These post-election findings unequivocally show the growing significance of the AAPI vote, and that AAPIs have the strength in numbers and political conviction to make a marginal difference in elections.  Enterprising policy and political leaders should recognize the strategic potential represented by our community," said Mee Moua, president and executive director of AAJC.

The report includes 2,785 interviews and builds on pre-election polls conducted by AAJC, APIA Vote and NAAS that showed an increase in voter enthusiasm, high levels of support for key issues such as healthcare, education and the economy, and an unprecedented number of undecided voters within the Asian American community.

"In-language surveys of the community remain important," Ramakrishnan said.  "Nearly one in two registered voters in our survey took it in an Asian language. Major national surveys that poll Asian Americans exclusively in English are getting only part of the picture."

"It's time for us to rethink how we conduct voter surveys to include the AAPI voting population," said Christine Chen, executive director of APIAVote.  "This election showed record levels of engagement by our communities, and this momentum will translate into mobilization for local elections in 2013."

A full report, with detailed findings and analysis based on 7,000 interviews and information broken out by national origin, will be released in early 2013.

The preliminary post-election poll report's key findings include:

  • The Asian-American electorate has been steadily growing with each presidential election and is projected to be close to 3 percent of all votes cast in the 2012 election.
  • 71 percent of Asian-American voters in November 2012 cast their ballot for President Obama, and 28 percent voted for Gov. Mitt Romney.
  • About 3.2 million Asian Americans cast ballots in November 2012, with about 2.3 million for President Obama and 900,000 for Gov. Romney.
  • President Obama's total popular vote margin of victory is estimated at 4.7 million. The AAPI vote contributed a net 1.4 million votes to this margin. Without the AAPI vote, President Obama's popular vote margin would have been 3.3 million.
  • In 2012, there was a significant increase in voter mobilization efforts by community organizations; still, most Asian American voters (65 percent) report that they received no contact about the election.
  • Among those who were contacted by political parties, contact by Democrats was more frequent than contact by Republicans.
  • On issues relevant to Asian American voters, the strongest gaps in support for President Obama over Gov. Romney were on issues of immigration, racial discrimination, health and environment.  The smallest gap was on national security issues.
  • Nearly one half of Asian American registered voters remain independent or undecided with respect to their party identification, pointing to the possibility that many remain open to persuasion and outreach in future elections.

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