By Karthick Ramakrishnan and Resty Fufunan

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) voters are poised to play a bigger role in the 2024 elections than ever before. There are three main factors driving this shift: 

  1. The rapid growth of the eligible voter population, as hundreds of thousands of AANHPIs enter the electorate through naturalization and through the aging of the native-born population,
  2. Record increases in turnout among AANHPI eligible voters in 2016 and 2020 and, relatedly,
  3. An expansion and shifting of Congressional and presidential battleground maps since 2018 that have made AANHPI voters more relevant than in prior elections.

Where might AANHPI voters make a difference in 2024? To answer this question, we conducted the following analysis: We examined all of the battleground contests for President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House ranked by the Cook Political Report, and examined those jurisdictions where AANHPI communities are 1% or more of eligible voters (i.e., the Citizen Voting Age Population, or CVAP). 

Data on Eligible Voters

State-level estimates of the Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) are derived from the 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), which enable us to include Asian or NHPI populations who also identify as multiracial. The PUMS data does not enable tabulations by Congressional districts. Congressional district estimates of the CVAP are derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Special Tabulation of the ACS 5-Year Estimates, which do not include Asian or NHPI populations who also identify as multiracial.

Presidential Battlegrounds

The Cook Political Report identifies the following states as presidential battlegrounds: 

  • Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as Tossups
  • North Carolina as Leaning Republican
  • Florida as Likely Republican; and 
  • Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire as Likely Democrat

As we see in Figure 1, AAPIs exceed 1% of eligible voters in all presidential battleground states except for Maine. And when we focus only on those states that are Tossup or Leaning, we find that AAPI voters are poised to make their strongest impact in Nevada (12% of electorate), Arizona (4.4%), Georgia (4.2%), Pennsylvania (3.3%), Florida (3.3%), and Michigan (3.0%).

Figure 1. 2024 Presidential battleground states, sorted by AAPI share of the electorate

U.S. Senate battlegrounds

The Cook Political report identifies the following states as U.S. Senate battlegrounds: 

  • Arizona, Montana, and Nevada as Tossups;
  • Michigan and Pennsylvania as Leaning Democrat;
  • Florida and Texas as Likely Republican; and
  • Maryland as Likely Democrat. 

As we see in Figure 2, AAPIs exceed 1% of eligible voters in all U.S. Senate battleground states. When we focus only on those states that are Tossup or Leaning, we find that AAPI voters are poised to make their strongest impact in Nevada (12% of the electorate), Arizona (4.4%), Pennsylvania (3.3%), Michigan (2.9%), and Ohio (2.2%).

Figure 2. 2024 U.S. Senate battleground states, sorted by AAPI share of the electorate

U.S. House battlegrounds

The Cook Political Report identifies a total of 22 Congressional Districts as Tossups (AZ-01, AZ-06, CA-13, CA-22, CA-27, CA-41, CO-08, ME-02, MI-07, MI-08, NJ-07, NM-02, NY-04, NY-17, NY-19, NC-01, OH-09, OH-13, OR-05, PA-07, PA-08, WA-03). 

The report also identifies a total of 12 Congressional Districts as Leaning Democrat (CA-47, CT-05, IL-17, IN-01, MN-02, NV-03, NY-18, NY-22, OR-06, PA-17, TX-34, VA-07) and eight Congressional Districts as Leaning Republican (CA-45, CO-03, IA-03, MI-10, NE-02, PA-10, VA-02, WI-03).

Among those districts designated as Tossup, AANHPI voters are poised to make the biggest difference in CA-27, CA-41, CA-13, NY-04, and NJ-07, where they exceed 6% of the eligible electorate, and in NY-17, CA-22, WA-03, AZ-01, CO-08, OR-05, AZ-06, NY-19, PA-07, MI-07 and OH-13 where they exceed 2% of the electorate.

Figure 3. 2024 U.S. House tossup districts, sorted by AAPI share of the electorate

Finally, in those districts designated as Leaning Democrat, AANHPI voters exceed 2% of the electorate in CA-47, NV-03, VA-07, MN-02, OR-06, CT-05, NY-18 and NY-22, and in those districts designated as Leaning Republican, AANHPI voters exceed 2% of the electorate in CA-45, VA-02, MI-10, PA-10, IA-03, NE-02 and WI-03.

Figure 4. 2024 U.S. House leaning districts, sorted by AAPI share of the electorate

Summing up

Taken together, we can expect parties and campaigns to expend high levels of outreach effort in the following states that are critical for both the presidential and U.S. Senate contests: Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. 

Additional states of interest include Georgia and North Carolina, which are presidential battlegrounds where AANHPIs are 4% and 3%, respectively, of the eligible voter population. Finally, we see two or more districts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia where AANHPI voters will likely play a critical role in shaping party control of the U.S. House of Representatives.