Asian Americans Undecided Between Obama, Romney
October 05, 2012
A recent study suggests that nearly a third of Asian American voters
have not yet decided between incumbent Barack Obama and Republican
challenger Mitt Romney in the U.S. presidential election, which is less
than five weeks away.
The National Asian American Survey released last week found that 43
percent of Asian Americans support Obama, compared to 24 percent for
But the survey said 32 percent are have not made up their mind - a
figure three to four times the national average. It said over half do
not associate with a particular political party.
Karthick Ramakrishnan, who helped conduct the survey says this is
because most Asian Americans have not been in the U.S. long enough to
find their place in American politics.
"Asian Americans are predominantly a first generation immigrant
population. Given their immigration background, it takes them a while to
fully get used to the U.S. political system and to see where they fit in
terms of the political parties and the major campaigns," said
Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing populations in the United
States. The Pew Research Center said earlier this year they have
overtaken Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants arriving in
the U.S. every year.
Ramakrishnan, who is also a professor at the University of California
Riverside, says Asian American participation in the current presidential
election is the lowest of any racial or ethnic group in the United
States. He estimates they are a decade or two behind Hispanics in terms
of political involvement.
Because of this, and the fact that most Asian Americans do not live in
so-called "battleground" states, Ramakrishnan says both the Romney and
Obama campaigns appear to have mostly ignored the community. But he says
Asian American votes, especially in certain states, could still make a
"Three states stand out as potentially important for the Asian American
vote: Nevada, Virginia, and North Carolina," Ramakrishnan added. "These
are all places where the Asian American share of the electorate might be
bigger than the margin of victory."
As for what issues most Asians in America care about, Ramakrishnan says
they are largely focused on the same things as most of the rest of
America: how to fix the struggling economy and create more jobs.