By APIA Vote, AAPI Data, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC and AARP

Background

The 2018 and 2020 elections saw record increases in voter turnout among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). In 2020, Asian Americans saw a significant double-digit increase in presidential turnout (11 points) and also had the highest midterm turnout gain in 2018, a 14-point increase. In 2020, almost 60% (7.6 million) of the Asian American citizen age voting population turned out. In battleground states such as Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the number of Asian Americans who cast their ballot in 2020 exceeded the presidential margin of victory.


In the past two decades, Asian Americans have also become one of the fastest-growing racial or ethnic groups in the United States. Between 2010 and 2020, the Asian population in the United States grew by 39%, and their population is projected to pass 35 million by 2060.

 

Key Findings

Voter Intent, Outreach, and Party Identification

  • 90% of Asian American registered voters say they plan to vote for President, Congress and other offices this November (compared to 93% in 2020 and 94% in 2016). Over two-thirds (68%) say they are absolutely certain they will vote this year.
  • A smaller percent of young voters age 18-34 indicate they are planning to vote (85%) compared to older voters, with only 62% saying they are absolutely certain they will vote in November.
  • Nearly half of Asian American voters (46%) prefer voting by mail or dropping their ballot off, instead of voting in-person.
  • 42% of Asian American voters say they have not been contacted by either of the two major political parties this election season, including half (50%) who say they have not been contacted by the Democratic Party and 57% indicating not being contacted by the Republican Party.
  • 42% of Asian American voters identify as Democrats (compared to 44% in 2020), 22% identify as Republicans (compared to 23% in 2020) and 31% identify as Independent (compared to 25% in 2020)

Presidential Favorability

  • Over half of Asian American voters (51%) view Joe Biden “very” or “somewhat” favorably while just over one-third (34%) say the same for Donald Trump. 43% say they have a “very” unfavorable impression of Trump compared to under one-fourth (23%) who view Biden the same.
  • If the election were being held today, nearly half of Asian American voters (46%) say they would be inclined to vote for Joe Biden, versus 31% who are inclined to vote for Donald Trump. Nearly one in four (23%) would either vote for a third party candidate, are undecided or refused to answer.
  • In 2020, over half of Asian American voters (54%) intended to vote for Joe Biden, illustrating an 8 percentage point or 8.5% decrease since the last presidential election year.
  • Regarding upcoming elections for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, half of Asian American voters would vote for a Democratic candidate (50% and 51%, respectively) if the election were being held today — and 30% would vote for a Republican candidate.

Policy Priorities

  • Asian American voters ranked jobs and the economy (86%), inflation (85%), healthcare (85%), crime (80%), education (80%), Social Security and Medicare (79%), and the cost of housing (78%) as issues that are “extremely” or “very” important in personally deciding how to vote in November. National security, gun control and immigration were also highly important issues.
  • Asian American voters believe that the Democratic Party is doing a better job on issues of: abortion and reproductive rights (49% vs. 19%), healthcare (46% vs. 19%), racism (44% vs. 16%) and gun control (43% vs. 23%) as compared to the Republican Party. Conversely, Asian American voters believe the Republican Party is doing a better job on issues of: national security (36% vs. 28%), immigration (35% vs. 33%), inflation (33% vs. 28%), and crime (31% vs. 28%).
  • When asked what issues would be enough to get them to the polls in November, regardless of how they feel about any particular candidate, Asian American voters indicated the following issues: jobs and the economy (84%), inflation (82%), healthcare (81%), Social Security and Medicare (76%), crime (74%), the cost of housing (72%), gun control (72%), national security (72%), immigration (71%), and education (71%).

Policy Views and Perspectives

Language Access

  • 72% of Asian American voters speak a language other than English at home
  • Three in four Asian American voters (75%) “strongly” or “somewhat” agree translations and/or interpreters should be made available at the polls for voters who do not speak or read English well

Educational Access

  • 84% of Asian American voters favor programs for people of color, including Asian Americans, to get better access to educational opportunities

Inclusive Curriculum

  • The vast majority of Asian American voters support the teaching of Asian American history (77%) and the history of all communities of color (74%) in public schools

Immigration

  • A two-thirds majority of Asian American voters (66%) support making it easier for immigrants to sponsor family members for visas

Hate Crimes, Harassment, Discrimination

  • Over two-thirds of Asian American voters (68%) reported worrying about hate crimes, harassment, and discrimination “sometimes” (38%), “somewhat often” (17%), or “very often” (13%)

Support for Family Caregivers

  • Nearly one in four Asian American voters (24%) are currently providing care to an older or ill adult or someone with a disability
  • 70% of Asian American voters agree that Congress and the President should pass stronger legislation to support family caregivers

Social Security & Medicare

  • 76% of Asian American voters say Social Security and Medicare are strong enough issues to get them to the polls regardless of how they may feel about any particular candidate
  • 85% of Asian American voters agree, with 57% agreeing “very strongly, ”that Congress and the President should make sure workers get the Social Security benefits they paid into

Gun Control

  • Over three in four Asian American voters (77%) agree, with 53% agreeing “very strongly,” that we should have stricter gun laws in the United States

Climate Change

  • Over two-thirds of Asian American voters (69%) agree that Congress and the president should pass stronger legislation to reduce the effects of climate change

About the Asian American Voter Survey

Along with the growing presence of Asian American voters is a growing interest in the opinions and priorities of this electorate. The Asian American Voter Surveys (AAVS) are election-year surveys of registered AAPI voters, capturing the perspectives of voters and their priorities across various years. The AAVS began in 2014.