News / USA

Asian Americans Have Many of Same Election Day Concerns as Other Groups

Yun Wang, 63, laughs while voting with her husband Sung Wang (not pictured), 68, both of Central City, underneath a stuffed bobcat at the Central City Courthouse in Central City, Colorado, 2 Nov 2010
Yun Wang, 63, laughs while voting with her husband Sung Wang (not pictured), 68, both of Central City, underneath a stuffed bobcat at the Central City Courthouse in Central City, Colorado, 2 Nov 2010
Ira Mellman

As American voters head to the polls, many of the people making their choices have roots in Asian countries.

There are an estimated seven million Asian Americans eligible to vote. Of those, the US Census Bureau 2008 survey said almost four million were registered voters. Paul Ong is a professor of Asian American studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, UCLA.

"I would say that Asian Americans are still somewhat on the margin if you look at it broadly, nationally. They make up at most five percent of the voters," said Ong.  "But, in certain areas, they make up a substantial percentage of voters. So in the big urban areas, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, there are essentially electoral districts, congressional districts, local districts where Asian Americans are very influential. They may not be in the majority, but they are swing voters. They can make a difference in those districts."

Professor Ong says to a great degree, which way these Asian Americans vote depends on from where they or their families are from.

"Clearly Southeast Asians lean toward Republicans," noted Ong.  "Many of them are political refugees, many of them coming over after the fall of Saigon. Many tend to be anti-Communist. They find within the Republican Party people who share their feelings in terms of their political view.  I think you have among Filipinos, Japanese and so forth a sense of past discrimination and that leads them to be more in line with the policies of redress, racial inequality and therefore they lean toward the Democratic Party."

A significant number of Asian American voters, especially from South Asia, are of the Islamic faith. Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American Islamic Relations says American politics over the past decade has led to a shift in Muslim political leanings.

"Before President Bush's first administration, it normally leaned Republican because of the family values," said Rehab.  "Since then, with the War on Terror, and the language that came out of that that failed to differentiate between terrorists and Muslims at large, Muslims increasingly felt uncomfortable with the Republican Party especially as the rhetoric continued to be anti-Muslim and started to vote more Democratic. So there's been a shift and increasingly so now with the Tea Party and what not."

What are these voters looking for from their politicians?

"For American Muslims, the biggest concern right now is the quality and tone of the debate," added Rehab.  "Whether this debate is on our national security, or our jobs or the economy or even the place of Muslims in America, our concern is that the nature of the debate in America has become more and more divisive, cynical, frenzied, paranoid, and we are very concerned about that and we wish that they debate itself, regardless of the positions people take, to be rooted in more intellect and empirical analysis and honest debate and mutual understanding."

As far as the overall Asian American population is concerned, Mini Timmaraju of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote organization says it's pretty much the same as a good portion of all American voters.

"I think it's the economy and jobs," said Timmaraju.  "We have data that indicates that, but we also know that's what the vast majority of Americans care about too and I don't think that Asian Americans are any different. They've been hit similarly by the economy and by the (unemployment) rate in the country."

Which leads to the question of whether Asian Americans voters will do what many in the US electorate are expected to do in this election, shift away from the party in power.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More