Asian Americans may be roughly 4 percent of the nation’s population, but their political leanings are often misunderstood or neglected altogether. An election eve poll found 51% of Asian American voters were not asked by any campaign, political party or community organization to vote or to register to vote.
While only 41 percent identify as Democrats, Asian American voters supported Barack Obama by a huge margin, with 72% voting for the President and 26% for Mitt Romney, according to The Asian American Election Eve Poll. In Congressional races, 73 percent of Asian American voters backed Democratic candidates, while 27% backed Republicans.
The Asian American Election Eve Poll surveyed 800 Asian Americans over the pre-election weekend. The poll was a joint project of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
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.
“Mitt Romney had room to win the overlooked Asian American community,” said Lisa Hasegawa, Executive Director of National CAPACD. “While Barack Obama’s narrative attracted Asian American voters, Mitt Romney missed an enormous opportunity to offer a direct appeal to this group.”
Another key issue for Asian American voters and perhaps the reason why they sided with Obama is healthcare.
Other key findings from the Election Eve Poll:
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.
“Asian Americans were hit hard during the recession — and this poll shows that they are focused on finding solutions to the economic downturn,” Congressman Mike Honda, Chair Emeritus for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said in a statement. “This poll provides critical information about what’s important for Asian Americans and should be used as a resource for elected officials as they develop policies that will have an impact in our communities.”