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New Poll: Asian American Voters Not Tied to Political Party in Key States

According to the results of an exit poll in Virginia, New Jersey, and New York, Asian American voters are open to candidates of both political parties in key states. The nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 2,290 Asian American voters was conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) after the mayoral election in New York and the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia.
"Asian American voters in Virginia, many of whom are not enrolled in any political party, could be a decisive voting bloc in the 2014 midterm elections," said AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung.


AALDEF released preliminary results of its exit poll conducted at 24 poll sites in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. Of those surveyed in total, 62% were enrolled in the Democratic Party, 10% were enrolled in the Republican Party, and 26% were not enrolled in any party.
However, in the close race for governor in Virginia, 45% indicated that they were not affiliated with any party, 41% were affiliated with the Democratic Party, and 11% were affiliated with the Republican Party.
In New Jersey, a majority (54%) of Asian American voters favored Republican Chris Christie over Democrat Barbara Buono (42%). 51% polled were enrolled as Democrats, 37% said they were not enrolled in any party, and 11% were enrolled as Republicans.
New York had the highest number of Asian American registered Democratic voters, with 70% were enrolled in the Democratic Party, 18% not enrolled in any party, and 9% enrolled in the Republican Party.
“There is tremendous political diversity within the Asian American community,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, Director of AALDEF’s Democracy Program. “Issues and candidates drive the Asian American vote, rather than party affiliation. For candidates concerned with the issues that matter most to our community, the Asian American vote is up for grabs.”
Contact:
Ujala Sehgal
212.966.5932 x.217
usehgal@aaldef.org
View results here >
RESULTS
AALDEF conducted the exit poll of 2,290 Asian American voters at 24 poll sites in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia in six languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, and Punjabi. AALDEF also dispatched 300 attorneys, law students, and community volunteers to 60 poll sites to monitor the voting process.
524 Asian American voters were polled in Virginia, 221 voters were polled in New Jersey, and 1545 voters were polled in New York.  The largest Asian ethnic groups polled were Chinese (39%), Korean (24%), Asian Indian (10%), Bangladeshi (9%), and Filipino (5%).  Nearly one in ten (8%) of those polled were first-time voters.
The exit poll was conducted in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, and Punjabi. Below is a summary of AALDEF’s preliminary findings:
NEW YORK
In the race for New York City Mayor, 79% of Asian American voters favored Democrat Bill de Blasio over Republican Joe Lhota (18%).   Each Asian ethnic group -- 79% of Chinese Americans, 85% of Korean Americans, 83% of Asian Indian Americans, and 93% of Bangladeshi Americans -- voted for Democrat Bill de Blasio.
Asian Americans cited Economy/Jobs as the most important issue influencing their votes.
Economy/Jobs was the dominant issue for 26% of Asian American voters, followed by Health Care (19%), Crime/Public Safety (17%), Education (14%), Housing (9%), Ethnic/Race Relations (6%), and Terrorism/Security (5%).  
The majority of Asian American New Yorkers are registered as Democrats.
70% of Asian Americans surveyed were enrolled in the Democratic Party, 18% indicated that they were not enrolled in any party, and 9% were enrolled in the Republican Party.
Crossover voting was strong.
35% of registered Republicans crossed party lines to vote for de Blasio. 9% of registered Democrats voted for Lhota.
NEW JERSEY
In the race for Governor, 54% of Asian American voters favored Republican Chris Christie over Democrat Barbara Buono (42%).   
58% percent of Asian Indian Americans and a plurality of Korean Americans (49%) voted for Christie.
Asian Americans cited Economy/Jobs as the most important issue influencing their votes.
Economy/Jobs was the dominant issue for 30% of Asian American voters, followed by Education (19%), Health Care (18%), Crime/Public Safety (11%), Ethnic/Race Relations (10%), Housing (6%), and Terrorism/Security (4%).
A majority of Asian Americans are registered in the Democratic Party.
Of those surveyed, 51% were registered as Democrats, 37% said they were not enrolled in any party, and 11% were registered as Republicans.
Crossover voting was strong.
46% of registered Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Christie. 22% of registered Republicans voted for Buono.
VIRGINIA
In the race for Governor, 71% of Asian American voters favored Democrat Terry McAuliffe compared to 26% favoring Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
Each Asian ethnic group -- 83% of Asian Indian Americans, 70% of Chinese Americans, 68% of Korean Americans, and 69% of Vietnamese Americans -- voted for McAuliffeby by wide margins.
Asian Americans cited Economy/Jobs as the most important issue influencing their votes.
Economy/Jobs was the dominant issue for 31% of Asian American voters, followed by Health Care (25%), Education (16%), Crime/Public Safety (8%), Ethnic/Race Relations (7%), Other (6%), Terrorism/Security (4%), and Housing (3%).  
The largest proportion of Asian American voters were not enrolled in any political party.
45% indicated that they were not enrolled in any party, 41% were enrolled in the Democratic Party, and 11% were enrolled in the Republican Party.
IMMIGRATION REFORM
A majority of Asian American voters favored comprehensive immigration reform.
67% of Asian Americans supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. 68% in New York supported immigration reform, 68% in New Jersey supported immigration reform, and 65% in Virginia supported immigration reform. 
A majority of Asian American voters favor congressional candidates who support comprehensive immigration reform.
Voters were asked whether they would be likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supported comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 52% percent of total voters polled said they would be more likely to vote for that candidate, 15% were less likely, and 33% responded that it made no difference.
In New York, 52% of voters polled said they would be more likely to vote for that candidate, 14% were less likely; and 34% responded that it made no difference. In New Jersey, 53% of voters polled said they would be more likely to vote for that candidate, 16% were less likely, and 31% responded that it made no difference. In Virginia, 53% of voters polled said they would be more likely to vote for that candidate, 16% were less likely, and 31% responded that it made no difference.
ACCESS TO THE VOTE
50% of all Asian Americans polled read English less than “very well.”
Across all ethnic groups, limited English proficiency was high. 50% of all Asian Americans polled read English less than “very well.” Language assistance is needed to ensure Asian Americans can fully exercise their right to vote.
Under the Voting Rights Act, poll sites in New York and New Jersey are mandated to provide bilingual ballots and interpreters to assist Chinese-, Korean-, and Bengali-speaking voters. Some counties Virginia voluntarily provided Korean interpreters at certain poll sites. 30% percent of all respondents preferred to use some form of language assistance to vote.
Asian American voters also faced a number of barriers in exercising their right to vote.
One contested ballot proposition in New York was mistranslated. Interpreter shortages made voting difficult for limited English proficient voters. Voters reported of encounters with hostile poll workers, excessive demands for identification, broken voting machines, and misdirection by poll workers:
--32 reported that their names were missing or had errors in the list of voters at poll sites
--12 had to vote by provisional ballot
--20 reported that poll workers did not know what to do
--12 reported that poll workers were rude or hostile
--18 reported that no interpreters or translations were available when they needed the help
--19 were directed to the wrong poll site or voting machine/table within a site
All of these voter problems were reported to the state and local elections officials.
About the Exit Poll:
AALDEF’s multilingual exit polls reveal vital information about Asian American voting patterns that is often overlooked in mainstream voter surveys.  AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian American voters in every major election since 1988, noting the steadily increasing numbers of new citizen and first-time voters.  In the 2012 Presidential Election, AALDEF surveyed 9,096 Asian American voters in 37 cities across 14 states.
A list of co-sponsoring organizations and law firms follows below.
National Co-Sponsors:
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
OCA: Asian Pacific American Advocates
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
State/Local Co-Sponsors:
Alliance for South Asian American Labor (ASAAL)
Asian American Society of Central Virginia (AASOCVA)
Asian Pacific America Legal Resource Center (APALRC)
Chhaya CDC
Coalition of Asian Pacific American of Virginia (CAPAVA)
Minkwon Center
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) – DC and NY Chapters
Legal Co-Sponsors
Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY)
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Greater DC (APABA-DC)
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ)
Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY)
Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY)
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY)
South Asian Bar Association of Greater DC
Law Firms:
Arent Fox LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft LLP
Chadbourne & Parke LLP
Clifford Chance LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Dechert LLP
Dentons
Fish & Richardson P.C.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Hogan Lovells
Holland & Knight LLP
McCarter & English, LLP
Morrison and Foerster
Nixon Peabody LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Paul Hastings LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Stroock, Stroock & Lavan
White & Case LLP
About AALDEF
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans.  By combining litigation, advocacy, education and organizing.  AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

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