National Asian American Survey

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					EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing segments of the electorate, and are a pivotal voice in the 2008 presidential election. Between 1990 and 2000, the Asian American population has more than doubled in 19 states, growing fastest in key battleground states such as Nevada, New Hampshire, Florida, and Georgia. The National Asian American Survey (NAAS) is the most comprehensive survey of the political views of Asian Americans ever. The data reveal that: • Among Asian American citizens, 65 percent can be described as “likely voters.” Japanese American citizens are the most likely to vote (82%), followed by Asian Indian (73%), Koreans (72%), Filipinos (67%), Vietnamese (65 %) and Chinese (60%). 41 percent of Asian American likely voters support Senator Barack Obama while 24 percent support Senator John McCain. More than one-third (34%) of likely Asian American voters remain undecided. By comparison, recent surveys of the general population show that undecided voters are roughly 8 percent of the electorate. These undecided voters are a critical source of support for both candidates in the final weeks of the campaign. In our survey, even among those who were interviewed in the second half of September, more than 30 percent were undecided between Barack Obama and John McCain. In battleground/toss-up states, 43 percent of Asian American likely voters support Senator Obama, 22 percent support Senator McCain, and 35 percent remain undecided. Asian Americans lean toward the Democratic Party, but include a large proportion of non-partisans: 32 percent identify with the Democratic Party, 14 percent identify with the Republican Party, 19 percent identify as Independent, and 35 percent are non-partisan, saying they do not identify as Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indians, Japanese and Koreans tend to affiliate with the Democratic Party more than with the Republican Party. Vietnamese are more likely to identify as Republicans. Asian American Democratic primary voters supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama by a 2 to 1 margin. More than half of former Clinton supporters (59 percent) plan to vote for Obama in November. Only 10 percent of former Clinton supporters plan to vote for McCain and 29 percent are undecided. Among Asian American likely voters who supported Bush in 2004, 51 percent plan to vote for McCain in November while 18 percent plan to vote for Obama, and 29 percent remain undecided. Among Kerry supporters in 2004, 65 percent plan to vote for Obama, 6 percent plan to vote for McCain and 30 percent remain undecided.

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National Asian American Survey

Junn, Lee, Ramakrishnan, and Wong

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Preferences for the presidential candidates vary by national origin. Support for McCain is highest among Vietnamese likely voters, with 51 percent planning to vote for the Republican candidate. In contrast, a majority of Japanese Americans (60%) and Asian Indians (52%) plan to vote for Obama. Chinese, Filipino, and Korean likely voters favor Obama over McCain, but a large share remain undecided. A very strong majority (79%) of Asian American likely voters report that “the economy” is one of the most important problems facing the nation, while 35 percent say “the war in Iraq” is among the top problems. Support for getting out of the war in Iraq is closely tied to vote choice among Asian American likely voters, with those wanting to end the war supporting Obama (57%), while those who most strongly disagree with this sentiment support McCain (71%). Similarly, views on the economy sharply divide Obama and McCain supporters. 61 percent of Asian American likely voters who see the Republican Party as closer to their views on the economy plan to vote for McCain, only 4 percent for Obama. 72 percent who see the Democratic Party as closer to their views on the economy plan to vote for Obama, only 4 percent for McCain. Language access and ethnic language media are important for the Asian American electorate. One third of Asian American citizens get informed about politics from Asian-language television and newspapers, and about one in five get political information from Asian-language radio and Internet sources. Access to election materials in non-English languages is a significant issue for the Asian American electorate. More than one in four (28%) say they would use such materials. When they contact Asian Americans, political parties and other organizations are very successful in differentiating between likely voters and non-likely voters. Still, the rate of contact by political parties appears lower for Asian Americans than for the general population. Asian American participation in home country politics is not a deterrent to involvement in the politics of the United States. Indeed, those involved in their countries of origin are slightly more likely to vote in the United States than those who do not (73% versus 67%).

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National Asian American Survey

Junn, Lee, Ramakrishnan, and Wong

2008 NATIONAL ASIAN AMERICAN SURVEY About the Research Team Jane Junn is associate professor of political science at Rutgers University where she holds a joint appointment with the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Her primary interests are political participation and elections in the U.S., political behavior and attitudes among American minorities and immigrants, theories of democracy, survey research, and social science methodology. Her research has been supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, CIRCLE, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Spencer Foundation, and the Educational Testing Service. In 1998 she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea. She has been a member of the 2004 Social Science Research Commission on National Elections following the contested 2000 election, and a member of a National Academies of Science panel evaluating the redesign of the U.S. Naturalization test. New Race Politics: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Politics, (edited with Kerry Haynie), was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008. Her book, Education and Democratic Citizenship in America (with Norman Nie and Ken Stehlik-Barry) won the 1997 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Book Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science in 1996. She is the author of Civic Education (Yale University Press, 1998) with Richard Niemi, along with articles and chapters on political participation. She is currently at work on a book on race and political participation in the U.S., with emphasis on the dynamics of immigration and racial diversity. Junn served as the co-Program Chair for the 2008 American Political Science Association annual meeting. Taeku Lee is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Mobilizing Public Opinion (2002), which received the American Political Science Association’s J. David Greenstone Award and the Southern Political Science Association’s V.O. Key Award, co-editor of Transforming Politics, Transforming America (2006) and recently completed a co-authored book, Race, Immigration, and (Non)Partisanship in America. Lee is presently working on a collection of essays about the uses and meanings of “race” and “identity” in social science research and co-editing two volumes, The Oxford Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Politics in the United States, and Generating Genuine Demand for Accountability: Public Opinion and State Responsiveness. At Berkeley, Lee is Director of the IGS Center on Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity and Chair of the Diversity and Democracy Cluster of the Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative. Lee served as co-Program Chair for the 2008 Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting and has also served in advisory and consultative capacities for various academic publications, community-based organizations, think tanks, the World Bank, and a Fortune 500 company. Prior to coming to Berkeley, Lee was Assistant Professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He was born in South Korea, grew up in Malaysia and New York City, and is a product of K-12 public schools, the University of Michigan (A.B.), Harvard University (M.P.P.), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.).

Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. His research interests include political participation, civic voluntarism, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States. He is a principal investigator on a multi-site research project on immigrant civic engagement funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, and a project on civic engagement in inland Southern California by the James Irvine Foundation. Ramakrishnan has authored several publications on immigrant adaptation, local governance, and civic engagement. His articles have appeared in International Migration Review, Urban Affairs Review, and Social Science Quarterly. He is also the author of Democracy in Immigrant America (Stanford University Press, 2005) and is co-editor of Transforming Politics, Transforming America, a volume on immigrant politics from the University of Virginia Press (2006). He also co-edited the edited volume Civic Roots and Political Realities: Community Organizations and Political Engagement Among Immigrants in the United States and Abroad (Russell Sage Foundation, 2008). He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation in 2006 and was previously a Research Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, where he authored several policy reports on civic engagement, immigrant participation, and local governance in California. Janelle Wong is associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is author of Democracy’s Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions (2006). She has published articles on race, ethnicity and politics in Political Behavior, American Politics Review, Social Science Quarterly, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the American Journal of Sociology. As part of the Pilot National Asian American Political Study (PNAAPS) research team, she co-authored The Politics of Asian Americans: Diversity and Community (2004), an analysis of the first multi-city, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic survey of Asian Americans’ political attitudes and behavior. Her current research projects include a study of immigration, religion, and conservative politics in the United States. In 2006-2007 she was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. At USC, Wong was Interim Director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics in 2007-2008.


				
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Description: The 2008 National Asian American Survey shows that Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing segments of the electorate, and are a pivotal voice in the 2008 presidential election. Read the full study below: