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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid