Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Changing Partisan Preferences of Asian-Americans

An interesting article by  of Vanderbilt points out that Asian-Americans have collectively shifted from a predominantly Republican to a predominantly Democratic voting group over the past 20 years. According to exit polls, Asian-Americans voted nearly 2-to-1 for George H. W. Bush over Bill Clinton in 1992, but gave 73 percent of their votes to Barack Obama in 2012.

This is a striking and historically unusual partisan swing over just a few elections. Mo argues that Asian-Americans' decisive shift toward the Democrats reflects a negative response to anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism messages from conservative elites, compounded by personal experiences of social prejudice and exclusion, which have engendered anti-Republican attitudes despite Asian-Americans' collectively prosperous economic status.

Asian-Americans represent only about 4 percent of the national electorate, and are disproportionately concentrated in California and other non-competitive states. Their increasingly pro-Democratic partisan affinities are therefore not likely to be electorally pivotal in the immediate future. But this trend is one piece of a larger evolution in the social coalitions of the parties that has occurred over the past several decades, as the increasing identification of the Republican Party with the political views and cultural traditions of the white South has caused ripple effects in the partisan alignments of Americans elsewhere in the nation as well.