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Group Releases Preliminary Results of Asian-American Exit Polls

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The Asian American Legal Defense and Education fund releases its preliminary results from exit polls conducted of Asian-American voters in yesterday's midterm elections. Mike Groll / AP

"Asian-American voters continued to support Democratic candidates in 2014, but their support has declined since the 2012 presidential election,” said Margaret Fung, Executive Director of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).

On Election Day, AALDEF surveyed 4,200 Asian-American voters in 11 states with large or fast-growing Asian American populations (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada) and Washington, DC, in 12 languages (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Khmer, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, and English).

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Preliminary results of AALDEF’s 2014 Asian American Exit Poll show:

  • The largest Asian ethnic groups polled were Chinese (36%), South Asian (25%), Korean (12%) Vietnamese (12%) and Filipino (5%)
  • 10% of Asian Americans were first-time voters
  • 59% of Asian Americans were registered Democrats, 26% of Asian Americans were registered Republicans, and 15% were not enrolled in any political party.

“Given the Republican control of Congress and several state houses,” said Fung, “the Asian-American community--with its large numbers of voters not enrolled in any party--will be able to assess which candidates and political parties best address their concerns over the next few years."

AALDEF's 2012 Asian American Exit Poll showed that 77 percent voted for President Obama, 74 percent voted for Democratic US Senate candidates, and 73 percent voted for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives. There was a wide variation when the numbers were disaggregated by ethnic group and location. The shift and variation in 2014 data show what analysts have been saying this election season -- the Asian-American voting bloc cannot be taken for granted.

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In 2014, Asian-American voters continued to largely support Democratic candidates (declared winners in bold):

  • MASSACHUSETTS - Governor: Martha Coakley-D 69%; Charlie Baker-R 28%; Other 3%
  • GEORGIA - US Senate: Michelle Nunn-D 58%; David Perdue-R 42%
  • LOUISIANA - US Senate: Mary Landrieu-D 30%; Bill Cassidy-R 63%; Other 7% (to be decided in runoff election)
  • NEW JERSEY - US House of Representatives (5 CD-Bergen County): Roy Cho-D 85%; Scott Garrett-R 11%; Other 4%
  • MARYLAND - Governor: Anthony Brown-D 55%; Larry Hogan-R 45%
  • VIRGINIA - US Senate: Mark Warner-D 66%; Ed Gillespie-R 33%; Other 1%
  • MICHIGAN - Governor: Mark Schauer-D 70%; Rick Synder-R 29%; Other 1%
  • MICHIGAN - US Senate: Gary Peters-D 82%; Terri Lynn Land-R 15%; Other 3%
  • PENNSYLVANIA - Governor: Tom Wolf-D 82%; Tom Corbett-R 17%; Other 1%
  • TEXAS - Governor: Wendy Davis-D 48%; Greg Abbott-R 52%

In addition, AALDEF monitored 147 poll sites and received over 340 complaints by Asian-American voters who faced barriers at polling places.

According to AALDEF attorney Jerry Vattamala, these included lack of interpreters, lack of translated voting materials, names missing from voter lists or other errors in voter names, requirements to prove U.S. citizenship, not being given a provisional ballot, poll workers making hostile remarks to voters, poll workers providing incorrect information, being misdirected to wrong poll sites, voting machine breakdowns, and poor ballot design. Some of the issues were reportedly resolved by the volunteers on site.

AALDEF has conducted exit polls of Asian-American voters in every major election since 1988.