Like other minority groups, an overwhelming majority of Asian-American voters supported President Obama in his reelection. National exit polls estimated that 73 percent of Asian-Americans voted blue in November, an 11-percentage-point jump from 2008.
To better understand the complex racial group’s political leanings, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund conducted an in-depth exit poll of 9,096 Asian-American voters from 14 states and the District of Columbia. What they found was that the cohort varied widely based on ethnicity and geographic location.
Geographically, their political leanings were consistent how the states eventually swung. The largest groups of of Asian-American voters who voted for Republican contender Mitt Romney were from Louisiana, Texas and Georgia. All three states went to the former governor. In contrast, an overwhelming majority of Asians cast their vote for Obama in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and New York, which went blue in 2012.
We pulled out some other surprising numbers from the poll report, listed below.
79% of respondents were foreign-born, naturalized citizens. The plurality, 45 percent, were naturalized more than 10 years ago.
76% of respondents were formally educated in the U.S., with the plurality (40 percent) achieving a college or university degree. Close to one-quarter of those who were educated in the U.S. have an advanced degree.
57% identified as Democrats. The next largest group, 27 percent, were not registered with a party. Just 14 percent were Republicans.
37% of Vietnamese-Americans were registered Republicans, the largest percentage for any ethnic group. The next largest were Filipinos, 26 percent of whom were Republicans, and Koreans at 14 percent.
84% of Indo-Caribbeans were registered as Democrats, the largest percentage of all ethnic groups, followed by Arabs (80 percent) and Bangladeshi (79 percent).
81% of Asian-Americans in Louisiana voted for Mitt Romney. In contrast, just 2 percent of Asian-Americans in the District of Columbia voted red.
53% of respondents said the economy and jobs were the most important factors when voting for president. That’s followed by health care at 35 percent and education at 27 percent.
65% of respondents showed some or strong support for comprehensive immigration reform. About 21 percent strongly opposed reform or didn’t know.
99% of ethnic Tagalog respondents said they knew English very well or moderately, the largest ethnic group to say so. The largest ethnic groups that did not know English well or at all were Vietnamese and Chinese at 30 percent. The majority of Asian-Americans, 84 percent, said they know English very well or moderately.
82% of first-time voters went for Obama. Just 16 percent of first-time voters supported Romney.