National Asian American Survey Director Analyzes Election Results

Karthick Ramakrishnan, a UC Riverside political scientist, is available to comment on issues that motivated Asian American voters

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. —Asian American voter support for President Barack Obama may have surprised some pundits and political strategists, but a nationwide survey of likely Asian American voters found they supported the Democratic president over Republican Mitt Romney by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the weeks leading up to the election.

According to exit polls, President Obama got nearly three-quarters of the Asian American vote, second only to African Americans. “This show of support continues a trend that started from the early 1990s, when only 32 percent of Asian Americans voted for Bill Clinton for president,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science at the  University of California, Riverside and director of the National Asian American Survey (NAAS).

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan is available to offer analysis on Asian American voters and their policy priorities and issue preferences. He can be reached at (818) 305-4865.

The National Asian American Survey “offers important clues on issues that motivated the Asian American vote, including factors that propelled Asian American voters to vote for Obama by such lopsided margins,” he explained. “Unlike the speculation of some, including David Brooks of the New York Times, this shift is not due to Asian cultural values but to changes in the policy positions of the Republican Party in the last two decades, particularly on immigration and social issues.”

The NAAS is a scientific and nonpartisan effort to poll the opinions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Drawn from a nationally representative sample of more than 3,300 interviews, the reports offer the most comprehensive portrait of Asian American political views. Among the fastest growing groups in America, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders exceeded the 5 percent threshold in roughly one in four congressional districts in 2010, and a record number of Asian Americans ran for Congress this year. Survey results can be found at http://www.naasurvey.com

Among the survey’s findings:

  • Democrats have a 34 percent to 18 percent advantage among Asian Americans, but a majority of Asian Americans (51 percent) are Independent or do not identify with the U.S. party system. This figure is higher than the average for the national population (40 percent).
  • The issues most important to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are similar to those of the rest of the country: the economy and jobs, followed by health care and education.
  • Asian Americans largely support both health care reform and affirmative action. On health care reform, support remains high regardless of whether the law is referred to as the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Karthick Ramakrishnan
Tel: 818-305-4865
E-mail: karthick@ucr.edu

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