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.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs