Friday, December 21, 2012

Asian Americans in the Obama Coalition

Asian Americans gave Barack Obama overwhelming support on November 6.  Their joining the Obama coalition was newsworthy, but not a surprise.  Asian Americans voted for Obama in 2008 and have a variety of liberal-leaning opinions.

Although the percentage of the electorate didn’t increase from 2008, the Asian American community increased their support for Obama by 11 percentage points.  The 73 percent support exceeded the Latino community’s 71 percent support.

Bill Clinton only received 31 percent of the Asian American vote in 1992.  A variety of explanations are offered for the dramatic shift.
  1. Asian Americans often reside in deep blue states and pick up the political attitudes of the area.
  2. On a variety of measures, Asian Americans are liberal, supporting Obamacare and preferring more to less government.
  3. Asian Americans are not homogenous in their political orientation.  The exceptionally high level of support registered in 2012 could be an exit poll artifact even though they clearly lean Democratic.
  4. Many Asian Americans are highly educated and may assimilate the political attitudes of America’s educated elites.
  5. Democrats have offered appointments and been solicitous of the community the last two decades.
  6. Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric has alienated the community.
Asian Americans now join the 28 percent of the non-White U.S. electorate, which mostly supported Obama.  He received an 80 percent level of support on average (African American voters gave Obama 93% of their vote).  Non-White voters represented more than two-fifths of his coalition.

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