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Asian Americans in Position to Decide the California Race between Sanders & Clinton

Bernie Sanders in Palo Alto
Photo by Darryl Yip
Hillary Clinton with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
Hillary Clinton with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

by Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent

With the latest poll in California showing Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat, Tuesday’s race could be decided by Asian American voters who make up almost 15 percent of the eligible state electorate.

Clinton received a boost when she received the very first endorsement from the AAPI Victory Fund, the first Super PAC targeting specifically Asian Americans

She also was dealt a setback when the California Field Poll revealed a survey of 572 likely Democratic voters found Sanders beating Clinton among Asian American voters 47-34%.

The poll was conducted May 26-31.

The Field Poll which was not conducted in any Asian languages differs considerably from a nationwide multilingual poll conducted April 11 – May 17. That poll found that Asian Americans in California favor Clinton over Sanders 33 -21%.

The multilingual poll was conducted in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. Could the difference between the two polls signal a major momentum shift in favor of Sanders? Highly doubtful. Most likely it’s due to the difference in methodology.

The multilingual polling captured a more representative sampling of Asian American voters, a community largely made up of immigrants.

In fact the multilingual poll conducted by AAPI Data on behalf of Asian Americans Advancing Justice and APIA Vote found that the bulk of support for Clinton in the Asian American community comes from foreign born voters. The Field Poll which was conducted in English and Spanish would have been less likely to capture this segment of the Asian American voting population.

43% of Asian Americans who said they support Clinton are foreign born. 54% of the native born Asian American voters said they support Sanders.

While Clinton is almost guaranteed the Democratic nomination because of her huge delegate lead, a victory by Sanders will definitely slow her already crippled momentum going into the Democratic convention and give cheer to Republicans trying to unite their party behind Donald Trump.

Asian American voters will be a key factor in the California primary. Each and every eligible voter should make it a priority to cast a vote if they haven’t already mailed their ballot.

“Asian Americans’ growing influence and political power is poised to play a major role in this crucial election,” said Dilawar Syed, co-founder and vice chair of the AAPI Victory Fund.


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