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WASHINGTON – Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters are still largely untapped by presidential candidates and their parties even though they are expected to vote in record numbers this fall, according to a major new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners. The first-ever poll of AAPI voter attitudes shows that close elections in important states like Florida, Nevada and Virginia could go to the candidates who best engage AAPIs, a demographic with increasing political clout.
The poll marks the first time voting trends among the nation’s fastest growing racial group – how they will vote this year and their views on a range of issues – have been examined. The effort surveyed more than 1,100 AAPI voters across the country last month and was released today by the Asian American Justice Center and APIAVote to bring attention to this crucial voting bloc at the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
“Presidential candidates and political parties ignore Asian American voters at their own peril,” said pollster Celinda Lake. “While Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders seem to prefer Democratic candidates, many don’t really know the differences between Democrats and Republicans, because they haven’t been engaged by either party. There’s a real opportunity there to define the debate.”
AAPIs identified overwhelmingly as Democrats in the poll – more than three times more than Republican – but less than a third were contacted by the Democratic Party in the last two years, while 37 percent of Republicans said they heard a great deal from their party over the same period. Independents barely heard from either party even though they are usually prime targets.