New Findings: Asian American Vote in Georgia Shows Dramatic Shift from Republican to Democrat in 2012 Elections

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013

February 28, 2013 -- Today, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released detailed findings from its nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 361 Asian American voters in Georgia in the November 2012 elections, the largest survey of its kind in the nation. The results indicated that Asian Americans are a growing segment of the electorate in Georgia, with a strong shift from Republican to Democrat in the 2012 elections.

62% of Asian Americans polled in Georgia voted for President Obama, compared to 77% of those polled nationally. In 2010, AALDEF's exit poll found 38% of Asian American voters in Georgia were enrolled in the Republican Party. In 2012, only 21% in Georgia were enrolled in the Republican party. Democratic Party enrollment stayed virtually unchanged, with 32% enrolled in 2010 and 33% enrolled in 2012. The exit poll revealed an increase of independent voters in Georgia, from 30% in 2010 to 42% in 2012. The majority of Asian Americans polled (56%) in Georgia supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.

"Our exit poll results indicate that Asian Americans are an increasingly diverse, growing portion of the Georgia electorate," said Glenn D. Magpantay, Director of the Democracy Program at AALDEF. "Issues that mattered to Asian Americans in Georgia, including immigration reform, accounted for Republican and independent voters voting for President Obama in the 2012 elections."

In Georgia, AALDEF conducted the exit poll in cities with large Asian American populations, including Norcross, Doraville, Duluth, and Suwanee. The exit poll results in Georgia are part of AALDEF's 14-state multilingual exit poll of 9,096 Asian American voters.

According to Census data, the Asian American population in Georgia increased 83% over the past decade. The largest Asian ethnic groups in the Georgia exit poll were Asian Indian (33%), Korean (24%), Chinese (14%), Vietnamese (11%), Bangladeshi (5%), Pakistani (4%), and Filipino (3%).

Magpantay presented the results of the 2012 multilingual exit poll in Atlanta, Georgia. Download the presentation. Key findings on "The Asian American Vote in the 2012 Presidential Election" include the following:

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

In the 2012 elections, 31% of Asian Americans were first time voters. 44% of Asian Americans in Norcross were first-time voters.

  • The majority of Asian Americans in Georgia voted for President Obama.

62% of Asian Americans polled in Georgia voted for Obama. The major factors influencing their vote were economy/jobs (62%), health care (33%), education (24%), civil rights/immigrants rights (24%), women's issues (17%), and terrorism/security (11%).

  • Republican Party enrollment dropped from 38% in 2010 to 21% in 2012, with independent voters voting for Obama.

In the 2012 elections, among those not enrolled in any party, 73% voted for Obama, compared to only 24% for Romney. Among Democrats, 96% voted for Obama and 3% voted for Romney. Among Republicans, 13% voted for Obama, and 85% for Romney.

  • There is a wide range of Asian American political leanings by city.

86% of Asian Americans polled in Doraville voted for Obama, compared to 61% of Asian Americans in Suwanee, 57% of Asian Americans in Norcross, and 56% of Asian Americans in Duluth.

  • Asian Americans in Georgia have higher levels of English proficiency.

Over a quarter (26%) of Asian Americans polled in Georgia are limited English proficient (LEP), defined as speaking English less than "very well." Nationally, 37% of Asian Americans identified as limited English proficient. However, particular ethnic groups in Georgia had high rates of limited English proficiency, such as Korean Americans (60% LEP) and Vietnamese Americans (40% LEP).

  • A majority of Asian Americans favored comprehensive immigration reform.

56% of Asian Americans in Georgia supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.

  • Voting barriers persisted.

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

10 were required to prove their U.S. citizenship.
8 complained that their names were missing or had errors in the list of voters at poll sites.
9 had to vote by provisional ballot.
4 voters complained that poll workers did not know what to do.
8 voters complained that poll workers were rude or hostile.
12 voters complained that no interpreters or translations were available when they needed the help.
2 were directed to the wrong poll site or voting machine/table within a site.

Click here for a link to the presentation (with further data) >

About the Exit Poll:

AALDEF's multilingual exit polls reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys.  AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988. In the 2008 Presidential Election, AALDEF surveyed 16,665 Asian American voters in eleven states. 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. A list of co-sponsoring organizations and law firms follows below. 


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, Communications Coordinator

Glenn Magpantay, Democracy Prog. Dir.


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 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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