NEW YORK — Asian Americans strongly supported Democratic candidates in four states — Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York — in last November’s elections, with 3 out of 5 voters disapproving of Donald Trump’s performance as president, according to a nonpartisan exit poll.
The multilingual exit poll of 2,538 Asian American voters was conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based national organization that has surveyed Asian American voters since 1988.
“Asian American voters, many of whom are not enrolled in any political party, could be a decisive voting bloc in the 2018 midterm elections,” said AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung.
AALDEF conducted the exit poll at 33 poll sites in the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia and the mayoral elections in Boston and New York City. Of those surveyed, 66 percent were Democrats, 10 percent were Republicans, and 21 percent were not enrolled in any party.
In New Jersey, an overwhelming majority (72 percent) of Asian American voters favored Democrat Phil Murphy over Republican Kim Guadagno (21 percent). Sixty percent polled were enrolled as Democrats, 23 percent said they were not enrolled in any party, and 12 percent were enrolled as Republicans.
Votes in 4 states
Asian American voters in these four states voiced their opinions on several current topics:
- Donald Trump Job Approval:
59 percent Disapprove
22 percent Approve
19 percent Don’t Know
- Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):
51 percent Oppose Repeal
29 percent Support Repeal
20 percent Don’t Know
- Continuing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for immigrant youth:
64 percent Support
18 percent Oppose
18 percent Don’t Know
- State of Race Relations in the U.S.:
53 percent Bad
47 percent Good (Massachusetts not included)
“There is tremendous political diversity within the Asian American community,” said Jerry Vattamala, director of AALDEF’s Democracy Program. “Traditionally, issues and candidates have driven the Asian American vote. However, many Asian Americans increasingly are registering as Democrats and supporting the party’s policies on such issues as health care and immigration.”
AALDEF conducted the exit poll of 2,538 Asian American voters at 33 poll sites in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virginia in English and 10 Asian languages: Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, Punjabi, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese. AALDEF also dispatched nearly 300 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to 67 poll sites to monitor the voting process. The largest Asian ethnic groups polled were Chinese (45 percent), Korean (13 percent), Bangladeshi (11 percent), Asian Indian (7 percent) and Filipino (6 percent). Nearly one in ten (9 percent) of those polled were first-time voters, and 78 percent were foreign-born naturalized citizens.
Below is a summary of AALDEF’s exit poll results:
In the race for New York City Mayor, 69 percent of Asian American voters favored Democrat Bill de Blasio over Republican Nicole Malliotakis (23 percent).
Asian Americans cited Education as the most important issue influencing their votes. Education was the dominant issue for 42 percent of Asian American voters, followed by Health Care (36 percent), Economy/Jobs (35 percent), Immigration/Refugees (30 percent) and Housing (26 percent).
The majority of Asian American New Yorkers are registered as Democrats.
70 percent of Asian Americans polled said they were enrolled in the Democratic Party, 18 percent were not enrolled in any party, and 9 percent were enrolled in the Republican Party.
Crossover voting was strong.
Fourteen percent of registered Republicans crossed party lines to vote for de Blasio, while 13 percent of registered Democrats voted for Malliotakis.
The majority of Asian American voters in New York are foreign-born. Seventy-six
percent of Asian American voters polled were foreign-born.
Four out of 10 Asian American voters in New York are limited English proficient (LEP). Forty-three percent of Asian Americans who voted in New York City were LEP.
In the race for Governor, 72 percent of Asian American voters favored Democrat Phil Murphy over Republican Kim Guadagno (21 percent). Seventy-eight percent of Asian Indian Americans, 71 percent of Filipino Americans, and 55 percent of Korean Americans voted for Murphy.
Asian Americans cited Education as the most important issue influencing their votes. Education was the dominant issue for 48 percent of Asian American voters, followed by Economy/Jobs (40 percent), Taxes (39 percent), Health Care (34 percent), Immigration/Refugees (23 percent), Environment (19 percent), and Housing (12 percent).
A majority of Asian Americans are registered in the Democratic Party. Of those surveyed, 60 percent were registered as Democrats, 23 percent said they were not enrolled in any party, and 12 percent were registered as Republicans.
Crossover voting was stronger for the Democratic candidate. Twelve percent of registered Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Murphy. Seven percent of registered Democrats voted for Guadagno.
The majority of Asian American voters in New Jersey are foreign-born. Eighty-five percent of Asian American voters polled were foreign-born.
Two out of 10 Asian American voters in New Jersey are LEP. Twenty percent of Asian Americans who voted in New Jersey were LEP, well below other states.
The complete poll report is here.