Tag Archives: Asian Americans

SOLID VOTING BLOCK OR SWING VOTE: Asian Americans could decide presidential race

by Momar Visaya/AJPress

NEW YORK – Asian American voters prefer Sen. Barack Obama, 41 percent to 24 percent nationally, over Sen. John McCain, according to a new national survey on Asian Americans released Monday, Oct. 6.

But that’s not the entire story.

According to the study, a high portion, or 34 percent of those surveyed, remains undecided. For the researchers, this is a key finding and a development that could set the stage for Asian Americans to play a pivotal role in the outcome of the November election.

The numbers could make a difference especially in battleground states where there is a growing Asian American population. Among the general population, national polls conducted since the major party conventions show that undecided voters are approximately 8 percent of the electorate.

The study shows that Filipino American voters support Obama, 35 percent over McCain, 29 percent. 34 percent remains undecided.

“A very large number of Asian Americans are non-partisan. The Asian American vote is very much up for grabs: Non-partisans who see either the Democratic or Republican party as closer to them on issues that matter to them are much likelier to vote for that party’s candidate,” UC Berkeley associate professor of political science Taeku Lee explained.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, an associate professor of political science at UC Riverside, agreed that with such a high proportion of undecided voters, “Asian Americans are a critical source of potential votes for either candidate in the final weeks of the campaign”

This groundbreaking study, released at a Washington, DC, press conference last October 6, was conducted by researchers from four leading universities: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley); University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside); and University of Southern California (USC).

The researchers’ 2008 National Asian American Survey (NAAS) shows that 41 percent of Asian Americans are likely to favor Obama, while 24 percent support John McCain. In battleground states, where either candidate could win on Election Day, Obama leads with 43 percent of Asian Americans supporting him and 22 percent favoring McCain.

The multi-ethnic, multi-lingual survey of more than 4,000 Asian Americans likely to vote in the election was conducted from Aug. 18 to Sept. 26. It is the most comprehensive survey to date of the political views of Asian Americans, with interviews conducted in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

“Most national polls cannot report the preferences of these likely voters because they do not interview in multiple languages, and the number of interviews they conduct among Asian Americans is very small,” said Janelle Wong, an associate professor of political science at USC.

By drawing on the knowledge of political scientists with expertise in survey research and ethnic politics, and with support from several foundations, the NAAS data provide insight about Asian Americans as a whole, the researchers say, as well as about their six largest ethnic subgroups: Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese.

Details

Asian Americans make up a significant proportion of the total population in states such as Hawaii (56 percent), California (13 percent), New Jersey (8 percent), Washington (8 percent), and New York (7 percent).

The population is also growing rapidly beyond the “traditional gateways.”  Between the 1990 and 2000 censuses, the Asian American population has more than doubled in 19 states. In fact, the electoral battleground states of Nevada, New Hampshire, Florida, and Georgia are home to some of the fastest growing Asian American populations in the country.

The study also shows that more Asian Americans identify as Democrats than as Republicans by a wide margin of 32 percent to 14 percent and a significant proportion identify as Independents, 19 percent.

Of the Filipinos surveyed, 35 percent identified themselves as Democrats while 19 percent responded Republicans. 28 percent said they were non-partisan and 18 percent said they were Independent.

Among the communities surveyed, Asian Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipinos have more Democrats than Republicans. Vietnamese Americans identify with the Republican Party over the Democratic Party by nearly a two-to-one ratio

The issues

About 80 percent of likely voters surveyed list the economy as one of the most important problems the nation faces, followed by the war in Iraq. On both issues, there are strongly divided opinions between Obama and McCain supporters.

“Even as the Iraq war has receded from the headlines as concerns about the economy have become more prominent, the war still plays a powerful role in the Asian American choice for president” says Jane Junn, an associate professor of political science at Rutgers.

Respondents also said that oil prices, job/unemployment and immigration are among the issues that they think are the most important problems facing the United States today.

Next to Latinos, Asian Americans are the fastest growing community on the US today. Currently, they comprise 5 percent of the population and, according to the researchers, will likely play a significant role in battleground states such as Virginia, Nevada and Washington, where they account for 5 percent or more of the population.

Even in states such as Colorado, Ohio and Florida, where they are less numerous, Asian Americans may provide the margin of victory, the researchers added.

Home country politics

There are some media accounts and scholarly articles that suggest that Asian Americans are less likely to participate in American politics because of their focus on the politics of their home countries.  The survey included questions on whether respondents send money to their countries of origin, whether they have been in contact with friends and family, and whether they have participated in the politics of that country.

Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of respondents have been in contact with friends and family and one third (33 percent) have sent money to people in their home country.  However, only 4 percent have participated in the politics of their home country.  The figures are similar when looking only at adult citizens in our survey: 69 percent have been in contact with friends and family, 31 percent have sent money to people, and only 4 percent have been involved in the politics of their countries of origin.

“Most importantly, those who participate in the politics of their home countries are actually more likely to vote in the United States than those who do not (73 percent versus 67 percent). Thus, participation in home country politics is not a deterrent to participation in the United States,” the report said.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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US Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Across the United States last week, the month-long celebration of the Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month began with community festivals, government-sponsored cultural activities, and educational activities for students.

President George W. Bush led the country in May 1 with an affair in the White House. In his speech, President Bush mentioned the many Asian Pacific Americans in his administration and their vast contributions to the country.

Bush thanked all Asian Americans  “for helping make America a better place. We thank you for loving our country the way you do. Thank you for being great contributors to the life of our fellow citizens.”

“We honor citizens … who are now an integral part of America. More than 15 million Americans claim Asian or Pacific ancestry. They make America’s culture more vibrant, and we’re a better place — and a more lively place, I might add — from Songkran celebrations in Los Angeles to Chinese New Year parties in Chicago to Diwali festivals right here at the White House,” he said.

Bush highlighted the business contributions of Asians to the country’s economy. “Asian Pacific Americans make our country more competitive. It turns out there’s a great entrepreneurial streak that runs throughout the citizens whom we honor today. Small business owners all over America are creating new jobs and are living the dream. They enrich America because of their love for America,” the President said.

Another major contribution of Asians that the President cited was in the area of national and international security. “We’re working with nations all throughout the world, including those in the Asian Pacific region, to protect our peoples from the true threats of the 21st century. We’re working with Pakistan and Indonesia and Malaysia and the Philippines and other partners — and Singapore and other partners — to dismantle terrorist networks and to combat the ideology of the extremists,” he stated.

LA Mayor Villaraigosa and API American Heritage

In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaragoiza and the City Council officially declared the opening of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month last May 9 in the City of Los Angeles. During the affair, a proclamation ceremony was held in the City Hall Council Chambers in North Spring St, LA where the Mayor awarded four outstanding Asian honorees who received the City’s Spirit, Dream, and Hope awards. A reception followed at the City Hall Forecourt attended by a huge number of Asian Americans.

The Spirit of Los Angeles honoree was Deputy Chief Terry S. Hara, the Commanding Officer for Operations West Bureau (OWB), responsible for overseeing the geographic area operations of: Hollywood, Wilshire, West Los Angeles, Pacific, Station #20, the LAX Substation, and the West Traffic Divisions. Deputy Chief Hara joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in February 1980 and is the highest ranking and the first Asian American to achieve the rank of Deputy Chief on the LAPD.

The Dream honorees of Los Angeles are Peter and Charlie Woo, brothers and co-founders of Megatoys, a toy manufacturing company headquartered in Los Angeles, with an office in Hong Kong and manufacturing plant in China. They are also known as the founders of the Los Angeles Toy District, credited with turning the once blighted industrial area in Downtown Los Angeles into a thriving international trade center, where they helped hundreds of immigrant entrepreneurs start their businesses and create thousands of jobs.

The Hope of Los Angeles awardee is Takashi Saito, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Japan-born All-Star closer, who registered 24 saves in his rookie year of 2006 and 39 saves during the 2007 season. The 38-year-old was a 2007 National League All-Star, and one of 10 finalists for the “DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award.”

It is estimated that there are 14.9 million US residents as of July 2006 who said they were Asian alone or Asian in combination with one or more other races. The Filipinos make up the second largest Asian group next to the Chinese.

The Department of State reported in 2007 that the Filipino American community was estimated to be at 4 million, or 1.5% of the United States population. More than half of the community are either naturalized or American-born, while the remainder are Filipino nationals of dual citizens of both the Philippines and the United States.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Countless Asian Americans Without Health Insurance

By Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Tens of thousands of Pacific Islanders, Korean Americans and Southeast Asians lack health insurance according to a study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum on April 1.

These ethnic groups “are doing much worse than other subgroups in terms of health insurance and access to health care,” the study said.

Korean Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are less likely to be insured than other Asian American groups such as Japanese or Asian Indians and twice as likely to be uninsured as whites, according to an analysis of national health data from 2004-2006.

Cara James, the foundation’s senior policy analyst for race and ethnicity, stated that the disparity is particularly acute in California, home to a third of the nation’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“People who do not have health insurance delay much needed medical care. They are more likely to forgo care because of costs, and when they do finally show up for care the conditions they have are often far more severe,” James said. “They are more likely to show up with late stage cancer.”

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Nationwide, 24 percent of non-elderly native Hawaiians  and Pacific Islanders don’t have health insurance, compared with 21 percent of Vietnamese, 14 percent of Filipinos and 12 percent of Japanese and Asian Indians, according to the study.

Korean Americans, as a group, are not perceived as low income, but 31 percent of non-elderly Koreans have no insurance, James said, compared with 12 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 17 percent of all Asian Americans.

Many uninsured Asian Americans are eligible to get care at community clinics or through a California program that funds children and families above the federal poverty rate, Jang said.

“Either they don’t know how to access it or are afraid to access it because of their immigration status,” she added.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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