On the national level, Asian Americans comprise “only” about five percent of the country’s population. However, as demographers point out, Asian Americans tend to be highly urbanized and concentrated in a handful of states, such as California where they constitute 10% of its population.
With this in mind, Asian Americans have the potential to be an important “swing vote” constituency. In other words, with the presidential campaign between Obama and McCain being so close, such constituent groups may be able to help “swing” the election in favor of one of the candidates — if the group can be organized to vote overwhelmingly for one candidate.
With that in mind, the 80-20 Initiative is one such group that is founded on this exact principle — to organize Asian Americans into a “bloc vote” that ideally, could deliver at least 80% of the Asian American vote (hence their name) to a candidate that they endorse. Unfortunately, the 80-20 Initiative has had its critics and earlier this year, faced a barrage of criticism for perceived bias against Obama, before they ultimately endorsed him for President.
At any rate, the 80-20 Initiative has just come out with the results of a poll they conducted on presidential preferences among Asian Americans. In an email sent to their mailing list (but yet to be published on their website), they note:
If the election were today, Asian Americans nationwide favor Obama over McCain by a 3.4 To 1 ratio or by 77% to 23%. The margin of error in this 80-20 poll is +/- 10%. . . . The questions used in polls 1) and 2) were sent to a random sample of Asian Ams. whose attitude towards 80-20 is unknown but who are almost all registered voters.
The 80-20 poll also notes that six percent of respondents said that they were not registered to vote, 42% were registered as Democrats, 14% registered as Republicans, and 38% registered as independents or undeclared. These numbers correspond with other data that show Asian Americans have shifted more towards Democrats over the years.
With the upcoming election between Obama and McCain likely to stay tight all the way down to the wire, potential bloc vote groups such as Asian Americans may be poised to have a sizable impact on its outcome — if we can continue to build a consensus and unity.