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APIA VOTE Press Release: Asian Americans & Pacific Islander Voters Poised to Impact Battleground States

By October 17, 2008One Comment

APIA VOTE Press Release

Asian Americans & Pacific Islander Voters Poised to Impact Battleground States
34% Remain Undecided About Presidential Pick

WASHINGTON, DC-Thirty-four percent (34%) of all likely Asian Americans voters remain undecided between the two presidential candidates, a National Asian American Survey revealed. The survey highlights the potential impact of Asian Americans-numbering 7.2 million eligible voters in 2006-in highly contested and leaning states such as Nevada, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio.

“Our voter mobilization work in contested and leaning states and traditional AAPI states show the tremendous growth in our AAPI population, and how our votes could impact these tight races. AAPIs are emerging as the vote to court,” said Vida Benavides, APIAVote Executive Director.

“The findings indicate that the rate of contact by parties and candidates to this electorate is very low, and might be why so many Asian American likely voters remain undecided. We acknowledge however, the efforts of both presidential campaigns to incorporate AAPI issues; but with twenty days before November 4, we further encourage candidates to continue and expand their AAPI outreach.”

“While we understand that the AAPI constituency is relatively smaller than others, we remind campaigns about the rapid growth of the AAPI population,” said EunSook Lee, APIAVote Board Chair, and executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC). “Most AAPIs are still foreign-born, and naturalizing to citizenship at a far higher rate than other immigrant populations. In southern California alone, NAKASEC registered 10,000 first-time voters, many of them at citizenship naturalization ceremonies,” said Lee.

APIAVote is a national non-partisan, nonprofit organization that encourages and promotes civic participation of AAPIs in the electoral and public policy processes at the national, state and local levels. APIAVote does not endorse parties or candidates. For more information, please visit

The National Asian American Survey (NAAS), a project of Rutgers, UC-Berkeley, UC-Riverside, and USC, is the first nationwide political opinion poll of Asian Americans, and can be found at:

Asian American & Pacific Islander Voting Statistics in Selected States

In 2004, approximately 43,000 Asian Americans voted in Pennsylvania. While this was only 32% of the state’s 135,000 eligible Asian American voters, it was almost 1% of all PA voters, showing that AAPIs can make an impact where only a few points separate the candidates.
APIAVote Partners: APIAVote-PA/APALA, Cambodian Assn. of Greater Philadelphia

While AAPI eligible voters make up only .6% of Ohio’s voting population, Ohio is still a toss-up, with recent polls’ spread ranging from a neck-and-neck race to a ten-point difference. In 2004, approximately 25,000 Asian Americans voted in Ohio– 48% of the state’s 52,000 eligible AAPI voters.
APIAVote Partners: OCA-Columbus

In 2004, approximately 169,000 AAPIs voted in Washington, making up about 5.9% of the state’s 2.85 million votes. Washington’s 300,000 eligible AAPI voters make up 7% of the state’s 4.2 million CVAP (2004). AAPIs could impact the outcome in Washington, with only a few points separating the candidates.
APIAVote Partner: APIAVote-WA

Virginia In 2004, approximately 45,000 Asian Americans voted, making up about 1.4% of Virginia’s 3.1 million voters. Eligible AA voters may make up only 3% of the state’s voters, but are still critical to such a tight race. Jim Webb’s won his 2006 race by 7,231 votes, an indication that AAPI eligible voters can impact the outcome in Virginia. APIAVote Partner: APIAVote/APALA-VA

In 2004, 32,000 Asian Americans voted in Nevada, making up about 3.7% of the state’s 871,000 votes.
Nevada has a rapidly growing AAPI population, with a CVAP of 68,000 that could impact the state’s 5 electoral votes. APIAVote Partner: APALA/ One APIA Nevada Coalition

In a state where candidates are separated by about 3 points, AAPIs can affect this state’s results. 59,000 Asian American voters made up 2% of Minnesota voters in 2004, and also made up more than half of the Asian American CVAP, a proportion larger than the national AA average.
APIAVote Partner: Lao Assistance Center

*CVAP= Citizen Voting Age Population
Statistics derived from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey 2004 and from the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).


Please visit to download the national and state-specific survey reports.