News / USA

Asian Americans Undecided Between Obama, Romney

Passengers at a bus station in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, March 14, 2012.
Passengers at a bus station in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, March 14, 2012.
VOA News
A recent study suggests that nearly a third of Asian American voters have not yet decided between incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential election, which is less than five weeks away.

The National Asian American Survey released last week found that 43 percent of Asian Americans support Obama, compared to 24 percent for Romney.

But the survey said 32 percent are have not made up their mind - a figure three to four times the national average. It said over half do not associate with a particular political party.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, who helped conduct the survey says this is because most Asian Americans have not been in the U.S. long enough to find their place in American politics.

"Asian Americans are predominantly a first generation immigrant population. Given their immigration background, it takes them a while to fully get used to the U.S. political system and to see where they fit in terms of the political parties and the major campaigns," said Ramakrishnan.

Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. The Pew Research Center said earlier this year they have overtaken Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants arriving in the U.S. every year.

But Ramakrishnan, who is also a professor at the University of California Riverside, says Asian American participation in the current presidential election is the lowest of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. He estimates they are a decade or two behind Hispanics in terms of political involvement.

Because of this, and the fact that most Asian Americans do not live in so-called "battleground" states, Ramakrishnan says both the Romney and Obama campaigns appear to have mostly ignored the community. But he says Asian American votes, especially in certain states, could still make a difference.

"Three states stand out as potentially important for the Asian American vote: Nevada, Virginia, and North Carolina," Ramakrishnan added. "These are all places where the Asian American share of the electorate might be bigger than the margin of victory."

As for what issues most Asians in America care about, Ramakrishnan says they are largely focused on the same things as most of the rest of America: how to fix the struggling economy and create more jobs.

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Comment Sorting
by: bingbing from: Old Dom
October 07, 2012 4:36 PM
Academics like Professor Ramakrishnan should get out of his ivory tower more and visit battle ground states more often and he will find that Asian Americans are very unhappy with Obama and he would be in for quite a surprise that Asian Americans are embracing Mitt Romney like you have never seen before! Go see for yourself at

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 05, 2012 12:10 PM
The position of these Asians is understandable - they are here to make job - big job - make money and check out. They are not here to stay. That accounts for their ignorance of who and who are running for the presidency. And do you blame them? Apart from making it here, America seems to them to work in anti-clockwise direction when social input is brought to the fore. And so the Asians, coming from a culturally different background, feel culture shock learning how life is in America - everything is allowed - just everything, good or bad! A few may fall in line, but it's like their mothers do tell them to beware of American culture when out there.

So America needs a cultural rebirth for the Asians to be at home here. The candidates should make their manifestos available to see if they can fall in love with any of them. Let the candidates reach out to them and tell them how their policies may benefit them. They can make a choice there after. Otherwise the seemingly innocuous ignorance can be a determination not to be tainted by America's crazy ideas.

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