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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid