Although pundits and commentators have attributed Barack Obama’s victory in 2012 to support from the Hispanic and African American communities, many have overlooked the critical role that Asian Americans played in that election. That year, President Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote, up from 62 percent in 2008. Asian Americans supported Obama in greater margins than any voter group except African Americans.
While Asian Americans currently only comprise 5 percent of the U.S. population, their numbers are predicted to swell to 9 percent by 2050. Furthermore, in swing states like Nevada and Virginia, Asian Americans already wield significant voting strength. As of the 2010 Census, Asian Americans form approximately 7 percent of Nevada’s population and 6 percent of Virginia’s. In other swing states, like North Carolina and Florida, the growth of the Asian American community outpaces the national average.
Even in non-swing states with high Asian American populations, their votes can be very influential in primary elections. For example, Hillary Clinton’s victory over President Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries in California, where Asian Americans comprise 8 percent of the Democratic electorate, was largely due to the 3-1 margin of support she garnered from that bloc.
As the 2016 presidential race begins to heat up, Republican and Democratic strategists will undoubtedly focus more attention on this crucial voting bloc.
– Michael Dee