Dramatic Shift of Asian Americans Away from Republicans in Georgia

Map showing the United States in blue, and the...

Map showing the United States in blue, and the nations where Asian Americans originate from in shades of orange. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New York, NY, February 28, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio): Today, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released detailed findings from its nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 361 Asian American voters in Georgia in the November 2012 elections, the largest survey of its kind in the nation. The results indicated that Asian Americans are a growing segment of the electorate in Georgia, with a strong shift from Republican to Democrat in the 2012 elections.

62% of Asian Americans polled in Georgia voted for President Obama, compared to 77% of those polled nationally. In 2010, AALDEF’s exit poll found 38% of Asian American voters in Georgia were enrolled in the Republican Party. In 2012, only 21% in Georgia were enrolled in the Republican Party. Democratic Party enrollment stayed virtually unchanged, with 32% enrolled in 2010 and 33% enrolled in 2012. The exit poll revealed an increase of independent voters in Georgia, from 30% in 2010 to 42% in 2012. The majority of Asian Americans polled (56%) in Georgia supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.

“Our exit poll results indicate that Asian Americans are an increasingly diverse, growing portion of the Georgia electorate,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, Director of the Democracy Program at AALDEF. “Issues that mattered to Asian Americans in Georgia, including immigration reform, accounted for Republican and independent voters voting for President Obama in the 2012 elections.”

In Georgia, AALDEF conducted the exit poll in cities with large Asian American populations, including Norcross, Doraville, Duluth, and Suwanee. The exit poll results in Georgia are part of AALDEF’s 14-state multilingual exit poll of 9,096 Asian American voters.

According to Census data, the Asian American population in Georgia increased 83% over the past decade. The largest Asian ethnic groups in the Georgia exit poll were Asian Indian (33%), Korean (24%), Chinese (14%), Vietnamese (11%), Bangladeshi (5%), Pakistani (4%), and Filipino (3%).

Magpantay presented the results of the 2012 multilingual exit poll in Atlanta, Georgia. Download the presentation here. Key findings on “The Asian American Vote in the 2012 Presidential Election” include the following:

  • Asian Americans are a growing portion of the Georgia electorate.

In the 2012 elections, 31% of Asian Americans were first time voters. In Norcross, 44% of Asian Americans were first-time voters.

  • The majority of Asian Americans in Georgia voted for President Obama.

62% of Asian Americans polled in Georgia voted for Obama. The major factors influencing their vote were economy/jobs (62%), health care (33%), education (24%), civil rights/immigrants rights (24%), women’s issues (17%), and terrorism/security (11%).

  • Republican Party enrollment dropped from 38% in 2010 to 21% in 2012, with independent voters voting for Obama.

In the 2012 elections, among those not enrolled in any party, 73% voted for Obama, compared to only 24% for Romney. Among Democrats, 96% voted for Obama and 3% voted for Romney. Among Republicans, 13% voted for Obama, and 85% for Romney.

  • There is a wide range of Asian American political leanings by city.

86% of Asian Americans polled in Doraville voted for Obama, compared to 61% of Asian Americans in Suwanee, 57% of Asian Americans in Norcross, and 56% of Asian Americans in Duluth.

  • Asian Americans in Georgia have higher levels of English proficiency.

Over a quarter (26%) of Asian Americans polled in Georgia are limited English proficient (LEP), defined as speaking English less than “very well.” Nationally, 37% of Asian Americans identified as limited English proficient. However, particular ethnic groups in Georgia had high rates of limited English proficiency, such as Korean Americans (60% LEP) and Vietnamese Americans (40% LEP).

  • A majority of Asian Americans favored comprehensive immigration reform.

56% of Asian Americans in Georgia supported immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.

  • Voting barriers persisted.

Voters were asked if they encountered any voting problems. Below are the number of complaints:

10 were required to prove their U.S. citizenship.
8 complained that their names were missing or had errors in the list of voters at poll sites.
9 had to vote by provisional ballot.
4 voters complained that poll workers did not know what to do.
8 voters complained that poll workers were rude or hostile.
12 voters complained that no interpreters or translations were available when they needed the help.
2 were directed to the wrong poll site or voting machine/table within a site.

Click here for a link to the presentation (with further data) >

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. In the 2008 Presidential Election, AALDEF surveyed 16,665 Asian American voters in eleven states. More than 100 community groups and organizations joined AALDEF to mobilize over 800 attorneys, law students, and volunteers to conduct the exit poll and to safeguard the voting rights of Asian Americans. A list of co-sponsoring organizations and law firms follows below. 

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.