Did the GOP lose the Asian-American Vote or the Chinese and Indian Vote?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


While liberals love to pile massive groups into an undifferentiated pile based on race or skin color, such a strategy is racist and ignorant. Much has been made of the Asian-American vote coming out for Obama. But Asian-Americans consist of a variety of groups, many of whom have nothing in common except regional distribution. They are not a race, because any number of non-Asians are also classified as Asian-Americans, including Bangladeshi Muslims.

So what did account for the Asian category vote shift toward Obama? One answer may be that two groups, Chinese and Indians, that Republicans perform badly with, increased as a larger share of the Asian electorate.

Republicans poll very badly with Chinese and Indians in the United States. Chinese and Indians are currently the largest two  groups of registered Asian voters in the country. Republicans do better with Korean, Vietnamese and Filipino voters who are the next three largest groups. But this is more than offset by how badly Republicans do with Chinese and Indian voters.

In the last decade, the Chinese population increased by a million. The Indian population increased by over a million. The Filipino population increased by 700,000. The Korean populated by 400,00. The Democrats may not have increased their popularity among Asian voters, as much as the proportion of the Asian vote that Democrats are already popular with increased.

The problem is most glaring among Indian voters who identify with Democrats at a rate of 65 percent and with Republicans at a rate of only 9 percent.

Chinese voters came in at 8 percent for Romney and 68 percent for Obama. Indian voters came in at 8 percent for Romney and 76 percent for Obama.

Only Filipinos supported Romney to any degree at 20 percent. While there’s a lot of complaining about the Jewish vote, it should be noted that the Asian group that most supports Republicans does so at an even lower share than Jews do. These are not good numbers.

Reversing the usual gender split, Asian men were more likely than Asian women to vote for Obama. There was no gender split favoring Romney. There was however the usual age split, with older Asian voters more likely to vote Republican than younger voters.

And as with the general population, college played a role. College educated Asians voted for Romney at a higher rate than non-college educated Asians.

  • Mary Sue

    no surprise that commie Chinese like Obama. Also no surprise if the Chinese are Buddhists that they like Obama, because they perceive the Democrats to be more left wing peace loving types like they are. The East Indians, that's a function of rejecting the Republicans based on the idea that white people don't like the Hindu (or Sikh) religion and may consider the practitioners "pagan" or something, while believing the Democrats are "inclusive" about it.

    • June

      And that's the reason why Americans favour the predominantly Muslim Islamic Republic of Pakistan over Hindu/Sikh/Jain/Buddhist India. When I hear flabbergasted Indians expressing their dismay at US's financial and military assistance to what is essentially an intolerant terrorist state intent on murdering innocent civilians and responsible for countless deaths, I've always said to them that it all boils down to religion. America is largely a Christian country and therefore identifies and recognises an intolerant, racist monotheism of Islam as one of them, they understand each other. Whereas a religion based on philosophy, inclusivity, tolerance and goodwill, will always scare them. Hence, my friends, US will always support the the Muslim IRP and pay them to kill Hindu/Sikh/Jain/Buddists in India. No brainer, really.

      • Ghostwriter

        I don't think that's a fair assessment of the situation,June. I think that for years,India supported the Soviet Union,so the U.S. supported Pakistan. There are still those in the State Department who believe that Pakistan is a reliable ally,despite all the evidence to the contrary.

        • maidros

          I don't think it has anything to do with the reliability or otherwise of Pakistan as an ally or India having been close to the erstwhile USSR. The answer is much simpler. US needs many favours from Pakistan (like access to their territory to send supplies to Afghanistan, droning terrorists in Pakistan, etc), and they would rather not have to fight Pakistan openly. So they are paying Pakistan. But the only form of payment that interests Pakistan (or rather its army) is American military hardware that they can potentially use against India, so the US is paying in that currency.

          There is a distinct lack of options when it comes to Pakistan, and the risks of going up directly against Pakistan are many, not least their nuclear weapons. So the US knuckles down under the pressure and pays Pakistan, even when it not only kills Indians, but also sends terrorists to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and even terrorists into US itself. When was the last time the State Department showed any imagination or wisdom in solving a problem in Asia?

  • Mary Sue

    BTW to get the Hindu vote (possibly even the Sikh vote), appeal to those Hindus that know what Islamic Terrorism is all about and understand how to deal with it. I'm sure some second and third generation Hindus may be pretty far-removed from what India deals with on a daily basis unless they have relatives there, but the more recent immigrants will definitely know what's up.

  • cynthiacurran

    This is true, some of the chinese now are rich foreign born that buy up property in the Bay area, LA, Seattle, and New York and Orange County. In Orange County were Indians are the smallest group and Vietnamise the largest group Obam won a lot less with asians. All the exile polls form California according to Orange County Register were taken from the Bay area and Los Angeles not form Orange Coujnty which also has a large asian population or San Diego above national average population so its shown California at 79 pecent but it was skewed. In Orange County Obama defeated ROmeny about 53 to 44 in Garden Grove which is mainly asian vietnamise and Korean and hispanic. In Irivne which is more white liberal and asian Chinesse, Korean and Vietnamise Obama defeated Romeny at 53 to 43 or 44. In Wesminster Obama defeated ROmeny at 49 to 48. In Hispanic Santa Ana Obama defated ROmeny at 61 percent vesus 35 percent. These were all cities in Orange County where the asian percentage is higher than La at 18 percent versus La at 14 percent but no exile polls. Its not just Indian and Chinese most polls on asians in most states were taken from liberal areas were white white went heavily for Obama.

  • NYgal

    Please check what percentage of Chinese and Indians use governmental benefits like Section 8, food stamps, Medicaid and SSI, for the parents they bring over and you will have the answer for this Democratic support.

    Not only elections have consequences, immigration policies has consequences as well.

    • dave

      I just checked.. 2.4% of Asians receive government support. That means white folks are white folks are eight times more likely receive government support…

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Like a lot of immigrants, Chinese use government benefits in the first generation, but there are dramatic falloffs in the next generations.

      Overall Asians do not fit the dysfunctional social pattern of blacks and latinos

  • cynthiacurran

    THis is true but Vietnamise are usually more heavily users of government welfare since they sometimes come to the US middle age with low job skills and its hard to find jobs for them. They anti-communism and many do small business resturants is why they voted Republican as mention above Obama barely won Westminster at 49 to 48 percent.Vietnamise area about 33 percent Roman Catholic more chrisitan than most asians this is also true of Flipinos that are maily Roman Cathiloic and Koeans which are about 40 percent protestant.

  • Ajack

    Putting up people like California born, George "macaca" Allen, who has a fetish for wearing the confederate flag, is not going to help. Why would Asian Americans feel comfortable, when we put up candidates who have a long history of bigotry? I would personally stay away from bigots like Allen, so why shouldn't Asian Americans who, George insists on calling Macaca (in crowded meetings nonetheless). Unsurprisingly, George Allen received a lot of PAC money too. Asian Americans in Virgina seem to have noticed and so has the community in other places. We can't blame other people for noticing our support for bigots.

    • Iron Yank

      And I would be willing to guess that you are a intolerant Liberal biggot who instead of making an honest disagreement over policy has to use the race card to try to smear. People who use this tactic are often racist themselves. But really, is hating someone for there opinion any different then hating them for there skin color?
      Not in my book.

      • Ajack

        Most of us gave up strawman bashing in high school. But, then again, I have no clue, what you have in your book. Maybe it tells us what the definition of a "biggot" is – or perhaps, if there's a real difference between "their" and "there". Who knows?

      • trickyblain

        "is hating someone for there opinion any different then hating them for there skin color?"

        Yes.

  • http://twitter.com/mrelchuco @mrelchuco

    No June, America is not involved with supporting Islamic nations because it considers Hinduism pagan. I would guess that most Americans don't have an opinion about Hinduism because they don't know anything about it. They have never read the Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Upadesamrita, Chondogya Upanishads, or any of the four Vedas. America doesn't care what your religion is. June, read the first amendment. America has been supporting some Islamic nations because of our need for oil. It is as simple as that. The more that Americans learn about Islam and it's doctrinal imperative of world domination, the less they like Islam. and the more they learn about Hinduism and Hindus' suffering at the hands of Muslims, the more Americans will appreciate Hinduism. America does not kill human beings because of religion. That is the job Muslims have signed up for.

  • cynthiacurran

    Well, in Orange Couny both Asians and Hispanics for the past 30 years have higher welfare usage than whites. Whites are a much bigger group than asians, asians have a higher poverty rate than whites in the US. So, asian welfare use as a percentage is higher than whites.

    • johnk

      The Asian groups in OC using welfare the most are Vietnamese and Cambodians, who both tend to vote more Republican than Asians in general.

  • NY gal

    Should you post a link to immigrant use of government benefits?

  • cynthiacurran

    _Based on this new methodology, the Census Bureau determined that the poverty rate among non-citizens in 2011 was a remarkable 32 percent, more than seven percentage points higher than reflected by the official poverty rate. (Report at 6) The Census Bureau also found that Hispanics have a poverty rate of 28 percent, up from 25.4 percent under the official poverty rate. (Id.) Additional data offered by the Census Bureau shows that the poverty rates among other demographics had changed as follows:
    ■African Americans: 25.7, down from 27.8 percent under the official poverty rate;
    ■Asians: 16.9 percent, up from 12.3 percent;
    ■Whites: 11 percent, up from 9.9 percent;

    In terms of geographic distribution, the new data shows that the highest poverty rates are in California and Washington, D.C. In 2011, both had poverty rates of over 23 percent, up from 16 percent and 19 percent, respectively. (Report at 12)

    • Seriously?

      If you're suggesting Asian American poverty rates explain their Democratic trend, you are off-base. Aggregated stats about Asian Americans – such as the one you cite for poverty- are unhelpful for analysis of partisanship as it relates to public assistance. Asia – just like North America- is a giant continent comprised of many different nations/races/religions. Americans w/ roots in Asia have immigrated here under incredibly different circumstances – leading to different socio-economic outcomes. In the 19th century folks came as laborers, miners, farmers and merchants, in the mid-20th century folks also came as war brides, veterans and refugees from Communist countries in connection w/ US military campaigns against Communism, and in the post 1965 Immigration Act era, as highly educated laborers (which is where today's prevailing "model minority stereotype" comes from). The wealthy Chinese investors you feel have recently arrived to buy property in CA during the real estate down turn are unlikely to have already naturalized and become eligible to vote in 2012 – unlike the Chinese American community that has been in CA since the 1800's. The fact is – those who struggle the most socioeconomically, are typically those who came here under the most challenging circumstances and with government assistance- as war or genocide refugees. The Vietnamese group you reference may be an example. Yet, these ethnic groups are overwhelmingly Republican compared to other, wealthier (predominantly non-refugee) Asian Americans ethnicities (like the Indians and the Chinese). In fact – Indo-Americans, who favor Dems the most heavily of all Asian American ethnic groups, have a national median household income of $88,000, higher than the all Asian average ($66,000) and all US households ($49,800) – see the 2012 Pew Report. Obviously, not every wealthy American thinks the GOP has better fiscal policies. And its not all about immigration reform or US foreign policy back in Asia. Like most Americans – including Latinos, Asian Americans collectively ranked the economy/jobs as their top concern in exit polls, followed by healthcare and education, and then only immigration reform. Finally, not everyone votes by their own wallet. You can have health insurance, and still care about your neighbors who don't. You can be a descendent of Pilgrims (our earliest immigrants) and still be turned off by the racist subtext you perceive in all the GOP "take our country back" rhetoric. You can be a Hindu or Christian Indo-American and still be bothered by McCarthyist GOP proposals for "hearings on Islam" – because you consider tolerance, separation of church and state and freedom of religion to be important American values. Partisanship is an extraordinarily complicated issue – but as the Chinese and Indian American vote illustrates, any theory that Romney lost the election because the 53% of Americans that voted for Obama are lazy freeloaders and welfare recipients is absurd.

      • RichS

        To Writer: I glad to see you have your facts Right. Good Job.

        Conservatives/Republicans need to be more inclusive. Stop the anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-immigrant (racist) talk and you will be able to attract ‘moderate’ Asian Americans which I believe most of them are.

  • RightCowLeftCoast

    Let me point out that this article is wrong on one aspect, Chinese Americans are indeed the largest Asian American ethnicity, however Filipino Americans are a larger population than Asian Indian Americans. This is due to the fact that a large part of their population are Multiracial, largely connected to the high number who migrated to the United States as War Brides, and in connection to the American bases (Clark & Subic Bay) that use to be in the Philippines.

    Please see the well cited wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Asia
    As for why Chinese and Indian Americans have a voting preference for the Democrat party, there are several theories for this shift. For instance Chinese and Vietnamese voters in the late 20th century had a Republican preference as many of those recently naturalized citizens had an affinity to the GOP’s stance against Communism, who they had recently departed from. As younger generations became more politically active, and due to the documented active effort by the Democrat Party to court them, those 2nd Generation Americans did not have that same party connection their parents did.

    • RichS

      Look at the facts the Republicans have moved to far to the right and having been taken hostage by the Tea Party does not make them very appealing.

  • cynthia curran

    Vietnamise are no longer mainly Republican they are slighly now voting Deomcratic now.