AALDEF Exit Poll: Chinatown Voters Support Clinton, Trump in NY Presidential Primaries; 65th AD Special Election Results

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016

4.19.16Primaries.jpgNew York, NY -- Asian American voters in New York's Chinatown strongly supported Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the April 19 presidential primary elections, according to preliminary results of a bilingual exit poll conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

In the Democratic race, Clinton received 54% of Chinatown voters polled, as compared to 43% for Sanders. Among GOP voters polled in Chinatown, Trump received 60%, with Ted Cruz and John Kasich each receiving 12% of the Chinatown vote.

Among all Chinatown voters, Economy/Jobs was the top factor influencing their votes for president (38%), followed by health care (13%), education (10%), and immigration (7%).

In the 65th A.D. special election for the seat vacated by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, 3 out of 4 Chinatown voters polled supported the two Chinese American candidates: WFP candidate Yuh-Line Niou (50%) and GOP candidate Lester Chang (33%). Alice Cancel, the Democratic candidate who won the April special election to succeed Speaker Sheldon Silver, received only 16% of Chinatown voters polled.

The AALDEF exit poll, conducted in Chinese and English, is based on responses from 513 Chinese American voters at five polling places in Manhattan's Chinatown with large Asian American populations:  Confucius Plaza, PS 2, PS 126, PS 130, and PS 131.

AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung said, "Given the large turnout of voters in Chinatown on Primary Day, we hope that Asian Americans across the country will make their voices heard by registering to vote and casting their ballots in the November presidential election."

Other April 2016 exit poll highlights:
-Among the 513 Asian American voters polled, 15% of Asian Americans were first-time voters.

-84% of Asian Americans were registered Democrats; 6% were not enrolled in a political party, and 8% were registered Republicans. 

-53% of respondents were female and 47% were male.

Voting Barriers
AALDEF dispatched teams of attorney poll monitors to inspect 18 poll sites, covering 65 election districts in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Through both the exit poll and monitoring efforts, AALDEF recorded complaints from Asian American voters facing barriers or other problems at polling places. 

There was confusion over two separate ballots in the primary and 65th AD election.  At Confucius Plaza, a voter complained that poll workers refused to allow him to vote only in the special election. He was allowed to cast his ballot after he returned to the poll site and demanded to vote only in the 65th AD special election.

Other voters in Chinatown complained of their names missing from the voter rolls, not being given an affidavit ballot, rude or hostile poll workers, and being misdirected to the wrong poll site. 

AALDEF Democracy Program Director Jerry Vattamala said: "AALDEF worked with the NYC Board of Elections to resolve many issues for voters on Election Day and will follow up with all voters that encountered barriers in voting."

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.  AALDEF will again conduct a national Asian American exit poll and monitor numerous poll sites in at least 14 states in the November presidential elections.

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For more information, contact:
Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director
jvattamala@aaldef.org, 212.966.5932 x209

Margaret Fung, Executive Director
mfung@aaldef.org, 212.966.5932 x201