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Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric in political discourse pushes Asian American voters leftward, survey finds

A report released yesterday by a group of Asian American organizations — Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and AAPI Data — indicated that more than 40 percent of Asian American voters said they would not vote for a candidate espousing anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim views.

inclusionnotexclusion

“The survey shows that Asian Americans are paying close attention to political discourse, and will not vote for a candidate expressing exclusionary rhetoric that only serves to separate communities. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim language will not win over Asian American voters,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

The report, “Inclusion, Not Exclusion: Spring 2016 Asian American Voter Survey,” suggests the exclusionary language from the Right as a likely cause for a leftward shift in Asian American voters. From 2012 to 2016, Asian Americans who identify as Democrats increased by 12 percentage points.

Meanwhile, according to the Pew Research Center, the Asian American electorate as a whole has grown by 16 percent over the last four years, compared to a 5 percent growth in the general electorate and a 2 percent growth in eligible white voters over the same period.

“Candidates on both sides of the aisle need to pay attention to our community,” Moua said, “but our survey continues to show that the majority of Asian American voters have not been contacted by political parties in the past year.”

APIAVote noted in an earlier report that in the previous presidential election cycle, 80 percent of Asian American registered voters in the South had not been contacted about the 2012 election.

“Voter outreach and education by nonpartisan organizations remains critical and 2016 is poised to be the largest mobilization effort we have seen for the AAPI community,” said Christine Chen, executive director of APIAVote. “The survey shows key problem spots where Asian American registered voters feel that the political system is not responsive to their needs. Greater investments are needed from the campaigns and parties.”

Some highlights from the “Inclusion, Not Exclusion” report:

  • Donald Trump has the highest net unfavorable view among Asian American voters. (19% favorable-61% unfavorable, compared to 41% favorable-56% unfavorable among the general population)
  • Hillary Clinton has the highest net favorable view among Asian American voters. (62% favorable-26% unfavorable)
  • Bernie Sanders struggles to gain recognition among Asian American voters (48% favorable, 22% unfavorable, and 30% with no opinion).
  • Democrats hold nearly a 2:1 advantage over Republicans among Asian American voters in Senate races, the advantage is higher still in the House races
  • Jobs and economic inequality rank higher among concerns for Asian American voters ages 18 to 34
  • Asian American voters tend to favor left-leaning views on issues such as environment, racial profiling, education, social security and immigration reform.

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