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Inequality, Affirmative Action, Guns Top Issues Among Asians

With strong opinions on income inequality, affirmative action, and guns, Asian-Americans voters can no longer be seen as a limited issue group, according to the results of a multilingual poll by AAPI Data.

On income inequality, 72 percent of Asian Americans support an increase in the minimum wage -- in line with the national average. Three in four said the decline in income for American workers was a “very important” or an “extremely important” problem. Nearly 70 percent said the government should work to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

On racial justice issues like affirmative action, 68 percent of Asian Americans were in favor.

The survey also found strong support (69 percent) for limits to political spending, as well as support for more taxes and spending on social services.

“There’s a larger pattern where Asian Americans seem to care about justice and not just about themselves,” said the report author Karthick Ramakrishnan, UC Riverside political science professor.

It was also the first time Ramakrishnan polled Asian Americans on guns. Asian-American support for strict gun control in the U.S. is at 80 percent, much higher than the U.S. average of 50 percent.

“When most people think of Asian American, they think immigration, education, language access, and that’s about it,” said Ramakrishnan. “But it’s much more than that. This is a fuller sense of what Asian Americans are. And it gives you a sense of what an Asian American agenda might look like.”

The AAPI poll has a margin of error of 2.7 percent and was conducted by telephone from August 14- September 11, 2014 of 1,337 registered Asian-American voters from the six largest ethnic groups, accounting for 75 percent of the adult Asian-American population. Interviews were conducted in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese, using landlines and mobile phones.

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