AALDEF Poll: 30% of Asian American Voters Cast Ballots for First Time in 2016 Presidential Election

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) today released the results of its 2016 multilingual exit poll, which found the overwhelming majority of Asian Americans backed Democratic candidates for President and Congress. The largest Asian ethnic groups in the exit poll were Chinese (35%), Asian Indian (13%), Bangladeshi (11%), and Korean (10%). Nearly one-third (30%) were first-time voters.

(CAPA21 is not affiliated with AALDEF; the information shared here was taken from their April 18, 2017 press release.)

The nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 13,846 Asian American voters in the November 2016 elections was taken in 14 states in jurisdictions with large Asian American populations. The exit poll was conducted in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Four out of five (79%) of Asian Americans polled voted for Hillary Clinton, 18% voted for Donald Trump, and 2% voted for another candidate. Of those surveyed, 59% were enrolled in the Democratic Party and 11% were enrolled in the Republican Party. More than a quarter of those polled (27%) were not enrolled in any political party, while 3% were enrolled in another party,

The vast majority of respondents (78%) supported stricter gun control laws. Overall, 65% supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and 65% supported laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. One half (50%) of voters polled said they do not think that the police treat racial and ethnic groups equally.

“Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country and have the highest rates of naturalization. Despite facing numerous barriers, Asian Americans made their voices heard, particularly in close elections. AALDEF will continue to mobilize volunteers to protect all voters in as many jurisdictions as possible, including in the 2017 elections in New York City, Boston, New Jersey, and Virginia,” said Jerry Vattamala, AALDEF Democracy Program Director.

AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung said: “With overwhelming Asian American support for Democratic candidates in the 2016 elections and a rejection of the Trump agenda, it will be important to watch the growth of Asian American voter participation in the 2018 midterm elections.”

Key findings include:

  • One-third of Asian Americans polled are limited English proficient (“LEP”).
  • Nearly four of five Asian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton for President.
  • Asian American women supported Hillary Clinton at higher levels in 2016 as compared to Obama in 2012.
  • Of the Asian Americans who voted for Trump, Protestants and Catholics showed the greatest support.
  • The majority of Asian Americans voted for the Democratic candidate in most congressional races.
  • Asian Americans cited the economy and jobs most frequently as an important factor influencing their vote for President.
  • Voting barriers persisted.

For more details of AALDEF’s report, visit AALDEF.org. You can download the complete report PDF here.