Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) today hailed the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's (AALDEF) exit poll results as strong evidence of the growing strength of the Asian American vote.
The responses of nearly 17,000 Asian American voters in 11 states showed that they voted for Barack Obama by more than a 3 to 1 margin, and supported other Democratic candidates, making the differences in key contested states in the historic November 2008 presidential elections.
“The differences we make may be marginal compared to other constituency groups, but we are talking about a presidential race where the margins truly mattered,” said Eunsook Lee, APIAVote board co-chair. “When we are mobilized, we can determine a race, whether local, state, or national. We applaud AALDEF's efforts to capture the phenomenon of Asian American voters, and encourage media outlets and polling experts to work with us in ensuring that we are accurately represented in sampling and exit polling.”
“AALDEF results indicate that AAPI voter turnout can determine whether or not a candidate wins or loses. The growing strength and increased participation of Asian Americans is evident in this exit poll,” said Vida Benavides, APIAVote executive director. “These results also show that political parties can do much more in outreaching to our AAPI community needs, which are not very much different from other communities' needs. We commend the political parties for their efforts, and will continue to be a resource to political parties so that they can more fully engage AAPIs in the political process.
The nonpartisan exit poll also found that 58% of Asian Americans were registered Democrats, while 26% were not enrolled in any political party, and 14% of Asian Americans were registered Republicans.
While non-random and conducted in precincts with significant AAPI populations, the AALDEF sample is representative of the national Asian American population. Significant findings include the following:
* Nearly one third of Asian Americans surveyed were first-time voters.
* 87% of respondents who were born in the U.S. voted for Obama.
* Four out of five Asian Americans are foreign-born citizens.
* One out of three respondents had limited English proficiency.
* Asian Americans shared common political interests across sub-ethnic lines.
* The longer the citizenship tenure of Asian Americans, the higher their rates of voting for Obama.
* All subethnic groups voted for Obama, with the exception of Vietnamese voters.
APIAVote is a national non-partisan, nonprofit organization that encourages and promotes civic participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the electoral and public policy processes at the national, state and local levels. APIAVote does not endorse parties or candidates. Please visit www.apiavote.org for more information.
More about the AALDEF Exit Poll:
The 2008 multilingual exit poll provides a unique snapshot of the voter preferences of Asian Americans at 113 poll sites in 9 cities in 11 states with large Asian American populations: New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, DC. AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. The AALDEF exit poll collected information about the party enrollment, English proficiency and issue preferences of first-time voters, foreign-born voters, women voters, and young voters.
AALDEF worked with 60 co-sponsoring organizations (including APIAVote) to mobilize 1,500 attorneys, law students and community volunteers to conduct the multilingual exit poll and to monitor polling places for incidents of voter discrimination. Please visit www.aaldef.org for more information.