AALDEF 2014 exit poll shows Asian American voters support executive action on immigration

Monday, Nov 10, 2014

New York...Asian American voters in 11 states strongly supported executive action on immigration reform (65%) and favored Democratic candidates in the 2014 midterm elections in eight states, according to updated results of an exit poll by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). The multilingual exit poll of over 4,100 Asian American voters was conducted by AALDEF in collaboration with 65 national and local community groups, the largest survey of its kind in the nation. 

Asian Americans said that the top issues influencing their votes for Congress were Economy/Jobs (50%); Health Care (34%); Education (32%); and Immigration (19%). 

In response to the question "If Congress does not act on immigration reform, do you think President Obama should take his own executive actions on immigration?" 65% of Asian Americans polled said yes. 

AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung said, "Asian American voters, including those not enrolled in a political party, continued to support Democratic candidates in 2014, although this support has declined since the 2012 elections. As to immigration policy, two out of three Asian Americans want President Obama to take executive action on immigration."

The 2014 AALDEF Asian American Exit Poll provides a unique snapshot of the voting patterns of Asian Americans in 11 states with large or fast-growing Asian American populations: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington, DC. It was conducted at 63 poll sites in 12 languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Khmer, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, and English.

AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. In the 2012 presidential election, AALDEF polled 9,096 Asian American voters in 14 states.

Selected 2014 exit poll highlights:

-Among the 4,100 Asian American voters polled, the largest Asian ethnic groups were Chinese (37%), South Asian (26%), Korean (13%), Vietnamese (11%) and Filipino (6%). 

-10% of Asian Americans were first-time voters.  

-84% of Asian American voters were foreign-born naturalized citizens.

-45% of Asian American voters were limited English proficient.

-57% of Asian Americans were registered Democrats, 26% were not enrolled in a political party, and 14% were registered Republicans. 

In the selected state races below, Asian American voters, including those not enrolled in a political party ("independent voters") supported Democratic candidates, except in Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas (declared winner in bold):

VIRGINIA - US Senate  
Party Affiliation:  42% Democratic, 23% Republican, and 30% Not Enrolled in a Party
Asian American vote: Mark Warner-D 66%,  Ed Gillespie-R 33%, Other 1%
How Asian American independents voted: 66% D, 34% R

MASSACHUSETTS - Governor
Party Affiliation: 44% D, 9% R , and 46% Not Enrolled in a Party
Asian American vote: Martha Coakley-D 68%, Charlie Baker-R 27%, Other 4%
How independents voted: 63% D, 31% R, 6% other

PENNSYLVANIA - Governor
Party Affiliation: 50% D, 19% R and 30% Not Enrolled in a Party
Asian American vote: Tom Wolf-D 82%, Tom Corbett-R 17%, Other 1%
How independents voted: 87% D, 13% R
Note: Democrats voted strongly along party lines (98% of registered Democrats voted for the Democratic candidate); Republicans crossed over more than Democrats (66% of registered Republicans voted for the Republican candidate; 31% of Republicans voted for the Democratic candidate).

TEXAS - Governor
Party Affiliation: 31% D, 34% R, and 31% Not Enrolled in a Party
Asian American vote: Wendy Davis-D 47%, Greg Abbott-R 51%, 2% did not vote
How independents voted:  47% D, 46% R, 7% did not vote

LOUISIANA - Senate
Party Affiliation:  55% Not Enrolled in a Party, 28% R, 12% D, and 5% Other
Asian American vote: Mary Landrieu-D 32%, Bill Cassidy-R 55%, 8% other (to be decided in runoff) 
How independents voted: 48% R, 34% D, 12% other, 6% did not vote

GEORGIA - Senate
Party affiliation: 34% Not Enrolled in a Party, 33% D, 29% R, and 4% Other
Asian American vote: Michelle Nunn-D 52%, David Perdue-R 45%, 3% did not vote
How independents voted: 48% R, 46% D, 6% did not vote

NEW JERSEY - Senate
Party affiliation: 56% D, 13% R, 28% Not Enrolled in a Party, and 3% Other
Asian American vote: Cory Booker-D 79%, Jeff Bell-R 16%, Other 3%, 2% did not vote
How independents voted: 70% D, 25% R, 4% Other, 1% did not vote

MICHIGAN - Senate
Party affiliation: 55% D, 10% R, 35% Not Enrolled in a Party, and 2% Other
Asian American vote: Gary Peters-D 80%, Terri Lynn Land-R 15%, Other 3%, 2% did not vote
How independents voted: 72% D, 21% R, 5% Other, 2% did not vote

Voting Barriers
AALDEF also monitored 147 poll sites in 11 states, covering 373 precincts and recorded over 340 complaints from Asian American voters facing barriers or other problems at polling places: 
-Lack of interpreters and translated voting materials
-Names missing in voter lists or other errors in voter names
-Requirements to prove U.S. citizenship
-Not being given a provisional ballot
-Poll workers making hostile remarks to voters or providing incorrect information
-Misdirected to wrong poll sites
-Voting machine breakdowns and poor ballot design

AALDEF partnered with 65 national and local groups to mobilize 565 volunteer attorneys, law students, college students, and community workers on Election Day.

*     *     *

For more information, contact:
Margaret Fung, 212.966.5932 x201 
mfung@aaldef.org

Jerry Vattamala, 212.966.5932 x209
jvattamala@aaldef.org