New Delhi: Nearly all registered Asian American voters — 97 per cent — say a candidate’s policy positions are more important than their race or ethnicity when deciding whom to vote for, says a new survey.
At the same time, a 68 per cent majority of Asian registered voters say it is extremely or very important to have a national leader who can advance the concerns of the US Asian community, according to the Pew Research Center survey conducted from July 5, 2022 to January 27, 2023.
The findings assume relevance as the 2024 US presidential election approaches with two candidates of Indian ancestry, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, running for the Republican nomination.
The survey — conducted among 7,006 Asian adults living in the US — said Asian Americans continue to be underrepresented among elected officials in the country compared with their share of the country’s population.
As of the beginning of the 118th Congress, 16 House members and two senators claim Asian ancestry.
Asian registered voters tend to prefer the Democratic Party — 62 per cent are Democrats or lean Democratic, while 34 per cent are Republicans leaners.
Issues Asian American voters care most about
About four in 10 registered Asian American voters, or 41 per cent, say inflation is the most important issue facing their local community — by far the most common issue cited during this extended survey period, which ended in January.
Economic inequality (16 per cent) is the second-most mentioned issue, followed by violent crime (11 per cent) and racism (9 per cent).
These concerns follow reports of violence against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Japanese registered voters (28 per cent) are more likely than Chinese (15 per cent) and Indian (13 per cent) voters to view economic inequality as the biggest issue facing their community.
Among Indian registered voters, 15 per cent say climate change is the most important issue facing their community. This is higher than the share saying the same among Filipino (7 per cent), Chinese (6 per cent), Japanese (6 per cent) and Vietnamese (5 per cent) voters.
Asian American voters’ views differ by political party
The survey noted that Asian Republican voters are more likely than their Democratic counterparts to view inflation as the most important issue facing the community they live in.
Even so, it is the most cited top issue for both groups.
Asian Democratic voters are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say economic inequality is the biggest issue facing their community.
Economic inequality is the second-most cited issue among Asian Democratic voters.
Among Asian Republican voters, violent crime is the second-most cited issue.
In addition, Asian registered voters born in the US are slightly more likely than immigrants to view economic inequality as the most important issue facing their community.
However, the importance of issues varies less by nativity than by party among Asian Americans.