Asian-American Voters: The Key to Winning the Next Election?

A new survey concludes that with a quarter of Virginia's Asian-American population undecided on who they favor in the presidential election, both Republicans and Democrats could gain from additional outreach.

Calling Asian-Americans a "largely untapped voting bloc," a pollster and community leaders suggested this week that those voters could be the deciding factor in the November elections. 

Both the Romney and Obama campaigns are —now a hotly contested swing state that may be won by a slim margin of voters. The telephone survey, conducted by Lake Research Partners (run by Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist), suggests that there may be an opportunity to win additional votes in the Asian-American community since 26 percent in that group are undecided in Virginia.

"There's potential for both parties to make major ground here," said Christine Chen, the executive director of APIAVote, a group that encourages Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to vote.  

About 6 percent of the state's population claimed Asian ancestry on the 2010 Census. That number rises in Fairfax County to 18 percent, and soars in Annandale to nearly a quarter of the population. So it shouldn't be too big of a surprise that both campaigns have been making efforts to reach voters in the area. 

On Saturday at 3 p.m., representatives from both the Obama and Romney campaigns will participate in a town hall forum, hosted by APIAVote, at George Mason University. Richard Lui of MSNBC will moderate the event. Former cabinet Secretary Norm Mineta and Rep. Mike Honda will welcome participants.

Still, during a conference call with reporters on Thursday to discuss the survey results, representatives from the Voice of Vietnamese AmericansAsian American Justice Center and APIAVote said there was additional outreach needed. They pointed, for instance, toward the finding that only 28 percent of those who answered the survey had been contacted by the Democratic party and 18 percent by the Republican party. 

Other findings from the survey are included in the PDF file from Lake Research Partners attached to this article. 


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