As the 2008 Presidential campaign heads into the final stretch, two recently-released studies shed light on the nature of civic engagement and political attitudes among Asian Americans.
The first one is an electronic book entitled The State of Asian America: Trajectory of Civic and Political Engagement, published by the non-profit organization Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics. It contains several articles on various aspects of political participation and civic engagement among Asian Americans, written by several well-respected scholars of Asian American Studies.
For example, there are articles entitled “Political and Civic Engagements of Immigrants,” “Asian American College Students and Civic Engagement,” “Asian American Panethnicity: Challenges and Possibilities,” and “The Usual Suspects: Asian Americans as Conditional Citizens.” This free e-book can easily be used as a textbook by faculty like me who teach introductory/survey courses on the Asian American Experience and is certainly a valuable resource for anyone interested to learn more about the dynamics of political empowerment among Asian Americans.
The second report is entitled “2008 National Asian American Survey” and is jointly authored by scholars from Rutgers University, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, and the University of Southern California. In conducting a comprehensive national survey of political attitudes and presidential preferences among Asian Americans, the major findings of this report are:
- Japanese American citizens are the most likely to vote (82%), followed by Asian Indian (73%), Koreans (72%), Filipinos (67%), Vietnamese (65 %) and Chinese (60%).
- 41% of Asian American likely voters support Barack Obama while 24% support John McCain. However, 34% remain undecided.
- 32% of all likely Asian American voters identify with the Democratic Party, 14% identify with the Republican Party, 19% identify as Independent, and 35% are non-partisan, saying they do not identify as Democrat, Republican, or Independent.
- Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indians, Japanese, and Koreans tend to affiliate with the Democratic Party and therefore to support Obama, while Vietnamese are more likely to identify as Republicans and support McCain.
- Asian American Democratic primary voters supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama by a 2 to 1 margin. More than half of former Clinton supporters (59%) plan to vote for Obama while 10% plan to vote for McCain and 29% are undecided.
These results confirm those I discussed in my earlier post on Asian American Presidential Preferences and reinforce the trend that among those showing a political preference, Asian Americans are overwhelmingly Democratic, although a significant number remain undecided.
Taken together, these two studies provide scholars like me and non-scholars like with valuable information and insight into the very important issue of political participation among Asian Americans. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved with both studies for their hard work and contributions.