Major Percent of Growing Asian Electorate in Maryland Backed Democrats

Thursday, Apr 4, 2013

maryland.jpgToday, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released detailed findings from its nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 384 Asian American voters in Maryland in the November 2012 elections, the largest survey of its kind in the nation. The results indicated that Asian Americans voters backed Obama and Democratic candidates by a wide margin, and a majority supported immigration reform across party lines.

71% of Asian Americans polled in Maryland voted for President Obama, compared to 26% who voted for Romney. 66% voted for the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Benjamin Cardin, and 22% for the Republican candidate, Daniel Bongino. Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives likewise received a vast majority of the Asian American vote, with 70% voting for Chris Van Hollen (D) compared to 22% for Ken Timmerman (R), and 72% for John Sarbanes (D) compared to 18% for Eric Knowles (R).

The major factors influencing the Asian American vote in Maryland were economy/jobs (56%), health care (33%), education (28%), and civil rights/immigrants rights (27%). The majority of Asian Americans (67%) in Maryland supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Furthermore, 52% of Asian Indian voters in Maryland supported same-sex marriage.

"Hot button issues including immigration reform led a large number of first-time Asian American voters in Maryland to play a key role in influencing the 2012 elections, despite the continuing barriers many face as limited English proficient voters," said Glenn Magpantay, AALDEF Democracy Program Director.

The exit poll results are part of AALDEF's 14-state multilingual exit poll of 9,096 Asian American voters in cities with large Asian American populations. These results reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys.

In Maryland, AALDEF conducted the exit poll in Rockville and Silver Spring, two cities with the largest Asian American populations. The largest Asian ethnic groups in the Maryland exit poll were Chinese (26%), Asian Indian (20%), Korean (17%), Vietnamese (11%), and Filipino (8%).

View the data slideshow >

AALDEF presented the results of the 2012 Asian American Exit Poll in College Park, Maryland. Key findings include:

  • Asian Americans are a growing portion of the Maryland electorate.

In the 2012 election, more than 1 in 4 (26%) of Asian Americans surveyed in Rockville and Silver Spring were first-time voters.

  • The majority of Asian Americans in Maryland voted for President Obama and Democratic candidates.

71% of Asian Americans in Maryland voted for Obama. The highest support came from South Asian voters: 84% of Asian Indian voters cast a ballot for President Obama. The majority of Chinese (69%) and Korean (68%) Americans voted for Obama, although the majority of Vietnamese Americans (54%) voted for Romney.

Support for President Obama was consistent across all categories, including first-time (78%), foreign- (69%) and native-born (80%), limited English proficient (62%) and English proficient (74%) voters, and voters of all age groups.

Of those surveyed, 50% were enrolled in the Democratic party, while only 18% were enrolled in the Republican party. 31% indicated that they were not enrolled in any party. Of those not enrolled, 70% voted for Obama, while 25% voted for Romney.

  • A majority of Asian Americans favored comprehensive immigration reform.

67% of Asian Americans in Maryland supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship, with the highest support from Korean (72%), Asian Indian (65%), and Chinese (55%) American voters.

A majority supported immigration across party lines. 72% of those who voted for Obama and 53% of those who voted for Romney supported immigration reform. 74% of registered Democrats, 58% of registered Republicans, and 60% of those not enrolled in any political party supported immigration reform.

  • One quarter of Asian Americans in Maryland are limited English proficient (LEP).

24% of Asian Americans in Maryland spoke English less than "very well." Particular ethnic groups in Maryland had higher rates of limited English proficiency than the national average of 37% LEP, such as Vietnamese Americans (42% LEP) and Korean Americans (41% LEP).

  • Voting barriers persisted.

Voters were asked if they encountered any voting problems. Below are the numbers of complaints:

10 voters were wrongly required to show identification.
9 voters had to vote by provisional ballot.
7 voters indicated that no interpreters or translations were available when needed.
5 voters were required to prove their U.S. citizenship.
4 indicated that their names were missing or had errors in the list of voters at poll sites.
3 voters indicated that poll workers were uninformed.
1 voter indicated that poll workers were rude or hostile.

About the Asian American Exit Poll:
AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. In 2012, more than 100 community groups and organizations joined AALDEF to mobilize over 800 attorneys, law students, and volunteers to conduct the exit poll and to safeguard the voting rights of Asian Americans. 

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

Ujala Sehgal
212.966.5932 x.217


Co-Sponsoring Organizations and Law Firms

National Co-Sponsors

Alliance of South Asian American Labor
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Common Cause
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Nat'l Coalition of Asian Pac. Amer. Comm. Dev.
Nat'l Korean Amer. Service & Education Consortium
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
North American South Asian Bar Association
OCA (formerly Organization of Chinese Americans)
South Asian Americans Leading Together

Local Co-Sponsors

APALA - Nevada
APIA Vote - Michigan
Asian American Society of Central Virginia
Boat People SOS Delaware Valley - PA
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
Center for Pan Asian Community Services - GA
Chhaya CDC - NY
Chinese-American Planning Council - NY
Chinese Community Federation of Atlanta
Chinese Progressive Association - MA
Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia
East Coast Asian American Student Union
Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York
Hunter College/CUNY, Asian Am. Studies Prog - NY
Korean American Civic Empowerment of NY/NJ
Korean American Resource and Cultural Center - IL
MinKwon Center for Community Action - NY
NAAAP - New York
NAAAP - Philadelphia
NANAY - FL                         
NAPAWF - New York City
OCA: Georgia
OCA: Greater Houston
OCA: Greater Philadelphia
OCA: Greater Washington DC
OCA: Northern Virginia
OCA: South Florida
Pace University, ACE House - NY
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
Princeton Asian American Students Association - NJ
South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association of New York
U. California San Diego, Lambda Phi Epsilon
U. Maryland, College Park, Asian Amer. Studies Prog.
U. Massachusetts Boston, Asian Amer. Studies Prog.
Viet. Amer. Young Leaders Assoc. of New Orleans

Legal Co-Sponsors

Asian American Bar Association of Houston
Asian American Bar Association of New York
Asian American Lawyers Assoc. of Massachusetts
Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia
Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas - NV
Asian Pacific American Bar Assoc. of Wash., DC
Asian Pacific American Bar Assoc. of Pennsylvania
Asian Pacific American Bar Assoc. of South Florida
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of NJ   
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center - DC
Boston University School of Law, APALSA - MA
Brooklyn Law School, APALSA - NY
Columbia Law School, APALSA - NY
Filipino Amer. Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Inc. - NY
Georgetown Law, APALSA - DC
Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Greater Boston Legal Services: Asian Outreach Unit
Harvard Law School, APALSA - MA
Korean Amer. Bar Assoc. of the Washington DC Area
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater NY
Louisiana Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Muslim American Bar Association of New York
New England School of Law, APALSA - MA
Pace Law School, Public Interest Law Center - NY
Rutgers School of Law-Newark, APALSA - NJ
South Asian Bar Association of New York
South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC
Suffolk U. Law Rappaport Ctr. Law and Public Serv.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, APALSA
U. Penn. Law, Public Interest Office and APALSA

Law Firm Co-Sponsors

Alston & Bird LLP
Ballard Spahr LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Duane Morris LLP
Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Fowler White Boggs
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Hogan Lovells
K&L Gates LLP
Kaye Scholer LLP
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
McCarter & English LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Pepper Hamilton LLP
Proskauer Rose LLP
Ropes & Gray LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
White & Case LLP


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