The Asian-American population in Orange County, traditionally a Democratic constituency, may be willing to turn toward the Republican Party if the GOP continues its efforts at outreach, analysts say.
Although 73 percent of Asian-Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2012, in 2014 three Asian Republicans were elected to the state Legislature and three of five members of the county Board of Supervisors are Asian-Americans. National exit polls revealed 49 percent Asian-Americans voted for GOP congressional candidates.
UC Riverside political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan, co-author of the National Asian American Survey, told the Orange County Register, “Asian Americans are the quintessential swing voters. They’re persuadable. Party loyalties are not as strong as other Americans nationwide.”
The Asian-American population is growing rapidly. Asian-Americans currently represent 3% of American voters, but that number is expected to swell to 10% by 2044. 14% of Orange County voters and 9% of the state’s voters are Asian-Americans.
Linkage between the various nationalities is crucial for swinging the Asian-American vote; in Orange County, 42% of Asian voters are Vietnamese, 14% Chinese, 13% Korean, 12% Filipino, 7% East Indian and 7% Japanese, according to Political Data Inc.
The 2012 National Asian American Survey showed that the one issue that elicited stronger support for the GOP among Asian Americans was national security.
1992 was the last time the majority of Asian-Americans supported the GOP presidential nominee. A 2014 Princeton survey found that the plunge in support for the GOP among Asian Americans was due to “social exclusion and intergroup solidarity.” The survey stated:
Social exclusion arises from Asians’ perceptions that they are viewed as less “American,” and associate these feelings with the Republican Party. Additionally, Asians exhibit intergroup solidarity; they believe they have common interests with other ethnic minorities that already support the Democratic Party. As a result, Asians align themselves politically with these groups rather than whites.