For Immediate Release
January 7, 2009
Contact: HyunJoo Lee, NAKASEC, 323-937-3703
The Growing Unity of the Asian American & Pacific Islander Electorate
(Los Angeles) National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is pleased to have been a national co-sponsor of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (AALDEF) November 2008 exit poll project, coordinating exit polling in Chicago and Virginia. On Election Day, over 16,000 Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters were surveyed in 11 different states.
“AALDEF’s exit poll showed that a 1/3 of all voters surveyed were first-time voters and across different ethnic lines, the economy was cited as the top issue that influenced their vote (30%), followed by healthcare (19%) and foreign policy (15%). These results show that our voting power is growing exponentially and that the AAPI community share common concerns said come together on issues that matter to us,” said EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC.
“Furthermore, it reflects our interest in the political process and the importance of continuing the work that community-based organizations do to register, educate, and mobilize community members,” added Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of Korean Resource Center.
“AALDEF’s exit polling is critical in telling the story of our growing AAPI community and expanding political power; there are over 7 million registered AAPI voters nation-wide and our impact on local and national elections was seen on November 4th,” said Becky Belcore, executive director of Korean American Resource and Cultural Center.
AALDEF polled the six largest Asian ethnic groups which are: Chinese (32%), Asian Indian (16%), Korean (14%), Bangladeshi (8%), Vietnamese (7%) and Filipino (5%). Four out of five (79%) of those polled were foreign born. Over one-third (35%) described themselves as limited English proficient, and 21% had no formal U.S. education. Additional key findings include:
- (58%) of Asian Americans were registered Democrats, 26% were not enrolled in any political party, and 14% of Asian Americans were registered Republicans.
- Among first-time Asian American voters, 82% voted for Barack Obama, 17% voted for John McCain, and 1% voted for other candidates.
- Economy/Jobs was the top choice for each ethnic group when voters were asked to select the most important issue from the following choices: Civil Rights/Immigrant Rights, Crime in Neighborhoods, Economy/Jobs, Education, Foreign Policy/War in Iraq, Health Care, Terrorism/Security, and Other Factors.
- 18% of all respondents preferred to use some form of language assistance to vote.