Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Asian American Voters Backed Clinton Over Trump by Wide Margins and Across Ethnic Groups

LOS ANGELES, CA – Contrary to mainstream exit poll results, the 2016 national Asian American Election Eve Poll reveals that Asian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by wide margins (75% to 19%), well-above the 47.7% support she garnered in the general national electorate.  Ethnically, Asian American support for Clinton was as follows: Chinese (69%), Filipino (78%), Indian (87%), Korean (65%), Vietnamese (74%), and Japanese (64%).

This unique poll surveyed 2,391 respondents from diverse Asian ethnic groups: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese. Interviews were conducted in five languages, with all interviews completed in the language of preference of the respondents. The survey was sponsored by the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Education Association (NEA).  
The full results of the 2016 Asian American Election Eve Poll are available here,
or view an infographic summarizing the topline results here.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S., with a population of more than 21 million, and AAPIs are a growing electorate that is increasingly influential yet often ignored. By 2040, one in every ten Americans will be AAPI, and the number of voters will double to 12 million. The voting-age population of AAPIs already exceeds 10% in seven states, including California. Advancing Justice-LA estimates that as of the November 2016 election, there were 1.8 million Asian American voters registered in the state (up more than 150,000 since 2012), including 502,000 Chinese Americans, 410,000 Filipino Americans, 271,000 Vietnamese Americans, 188,000 Indian Americans, 150,000 Korean Americans, and 117,000 Japanese Americans. 
Other highlights from the 2016 Asian American Election Eve Poll, including California-specific data:
  • At the national level, 56% of Asian Americans now identify as Democrats, a marked jump from 49% in the same poll four years ago. 
  • In California, Asian American support for Clinton was higher than her national support, with 79% of Asian Americans supporting Clinton versus 13% for Trump.  High numbers of Asian Americans in the state reported that Trump made them angry (72%) and afraid (64%).  
  • Asian Americans in California supported Kamala Harris for the open U.S. Senate seat at 69% (compared to 63% of all voters).
  • On two high profile California propositions, 77% of Asian American voters surveyed supported Proposition 55 which extends an existing tax to fund public education (compared to 62% of all voters in California) and 80% of Asian Americans voted for Proposition 56 which imposes a $2 tax on tobacco products (compared to 63% of all voters). 
  • The poll highlights the pressing need for more Asian American voter outreach and civic engagement, as the community is too often overlooked by campaigns, political parties, and civic organizations alike. The survey found that an incredible 57% of Asian American voters were not asked by any campaign, political party or organization to vote or to register to vote – and 84% of those who were reached were contacted in English.
  • In addition, Asian Americans still face significant barriers at the polls. 67% of Asian Americans are immigrants born outside of the U.S., many of whom are first-time voters with limited English proficiency. Many are asked for additional voter identification, are segregated from other voters, and have to use polling locations without any available language assistance.
In addition to revealing how Asian Americans voted in races for President, Senate, and Congress, the survey also revealed the issue priorities that influenced their voting decisions.  (See poll for full results.)
Quotes from 2015 Asian American Election Eve partners:
“At a time when many are looking for answers in the election outcome, the voting patterns of Asian Americans indicate that it is a community that has solidified itself as a staunchly progressive vote,” said EunSook Lee, Director of the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund. “2012 was not an anomaly. In 2016, they voted similarly to the Latino electorate and are not afraid to call themselves Democrats.”
“The whole purpose of a poll like this is to have credible, best-in-class data on how Asian Americans have voted,” said Taeku Lee of Asian American Decisions, the lead researcher for the survey. “2016 is another example of why we need these data, because once again, the national media exit poll numbers for Latinos and Asian Americans didn’t do it right and didn’t get it right. These exit polls show only 65% of Asian Americans voting for Clinton. Our poll — using representative sampling, multiple interview languages, and proper weighting — shows a more believable estimate of 76%.” 
“The election eve poll showed that education remains a high priority for Asian American voters, who overwhelmingly backed more federal support for our public schools – including when it comes to raising teacher pay, reducing class sizes, and repairing crumbling schools,” said Carrie Pugh, National Political Director of the National Education Association. “In California, Asian Americans also formed a key part of the coalition that passed Proposition 55, which extended tax increases on the rich to fund education and healthcare.”
"I am encouraged by the results of the multilingual Asian American election eve poll,” said Luisa Blue, Executive Vice President of SEIU. “The AAPI community is the fastest-growing immigrant racial group in the country, and because SEIU represents over 110,000 unionized AAPI workers, we will continue to work with our AAPI members, community organizations, and community leaders to lift up the voices of AAPI workers and their families so their concerns and issues can be addressed."
"Roughly one out of every three Asian American voters nationwide lives in California – that's 1.8 million Asian American voters in California alone," said Dan Ichinose, Director of the Demographic Research Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles. "This poll showed that Asian American voters in our state were particularly angry at Trump and afraid of the consequences of him being elected."  
"Despite attempts by several states to restrict the right to vote, we are glad that Asian American voter turnout was high in the 2016 elections, said Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based national organization. “AALDEF has conducted nonpartisan exit polls of Asian American voters since 1988, and we surveyed close to 14,500 Asian American voters in 14 states on Election Day in 2016. We hope that in addition to the Asian American Election Eve Poll results, more detailed information about Asian American voting patterns and preferences is reported out by media outlets this year.”
“Despite the results of last night’s election, this poll shows that the Asian American electorate is quickly becoming a significant factor in national elections, and only underscores the need for progressives to invest in more research on AAPI voters,” said Jill Hanauer, President of Project New America. “Like Latinos, AAPI voters are not monolithic, and both parties will need to better understand the community if they want to tap into the unrealized potential of this growing electorate moving forward.” 
Randy Bunnao, 213-241-0227
About Advancing Justice - LA: 
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
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