Romney’s problems with minority voters extend to Asians, study shows

September 25, 2012

Republican Mitt Romney’s problems appealing to minority voters extends beyond blacks and Hispanics, with Asian-Americans also heavily favoring Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election on Nov. 6.

Among likely voters who are Asian American, 43 percent back Obama, compared with 24 percent for Romney. But there are still many out there to be won over, because a third – 32 percent – of those who are judged likely to cast ballots on Nov. 6 have not yet made up their minds, according to the National Asian American Survey, which organizers said was  the largest such study of Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ public opinion ever done in the United States.

Many, however, have yet to be won over, because a third – 32 percent – of those who are judged likely to cast ballots on Nov. 6 have not yet made up their minds, the study found.

Romney could have a tougher time attracting them. Obama’s approval ratings are higher with the group – at 59 percent versus the national average of about 50 percent. Romney’s are lower, at 30 percent versus 45 percent.

Recent surveys of the total U.S. voter population show the number of undecided voters has dwindled to the single digits, with just six weeks remaining before the election. Ninety-two percent of likely voters in a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Monday had made up their minds, with 49 percent for Obama and 43 percent for Romney.

The study found that Japanese and Filipino Americans are the Asian-Americans most likely to vote – at 64 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Hmong and Cambodian Americans are least likely, at 26 percent each.

There are other differences among ethnic groups. Indian Americans (68 percent) show the strongest suppot for Obama, while Filipinos (38 percent) are Romney’s strongest supporters.

Most Asian-Americans – five out of six – do not live in the battleground states where the presidential election is most likely to be decided, which makes their influence greatest in state-wide and local elections. But they could make a difference in two important swing states – Virginia and Nevada – where they account for about 7 percent and 8 percent of the population, respectively.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders account for about 5 percent of the total U.S. population, compared with the 13 percent who are black and 17 percent who are Hispanic. Some surveys have shown the first African-American president with 100 percent support among black voters, and 70 percent – or higher – among Hispanics.

The report was based on data collected from 3,034 telephone interviews of adults in the United States who identify themselves as Asian American and 342 interviews with Pacific Islanders. Interviews were conducted from July 31 through Sept. 19.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Andrew Burton

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