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Survey finds AAPI voters favor Biden, but many unsure

Photo by Phil Roeder via Flickr Creative Commons

by Akemi Tamanaha, AsAmNews Associate Editor

A new survey has found that Asian American voters favor Joe Biden over Donald Trump by nearly a 2:1 ratio, but many AAPI voters are still undecided.

AAPI Data, APIA Vote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice released the results of their Asian American voter survey on Tuesday morning. The organizations surveyed 1,569 registered Asian American voters from July 15 to September 10 over the phone and online. The sample includes Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese registered voters.

Participants were asked about a wide range of topics including voter outreach, voter enthusiasm, the 2020 presidential election, congressional races, human rights issues and other key policy issues.

Upcoming Elections

Fifty-four percent of the voters surveyed said that they would vote for Joe Biden while 30 percent said they would vote for Trump. Indian Americans showed the strongest support for Joe Biden, with 65 percent of Indian Americans stating they would vote for Biden. Vietnamese Americans were the only group that showed stronger support for Trump, with 48 percent of Vietnamese Americans favoring Trump and 36 percent favoring Biden.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, the head researcher at AAPI Data, pointed out in a press conference for the survey that 15 percent of Asian American voters said they were still undecided. He said that campaigns and parties should note that many Asian American voters are still “persuadable.”

Although many Asian American voters remain persuadable, the survey found that campaigns and political parties are not successfully reaching Asian American voters. Only 30 percent of Asian American voters surveyed about the 2020 elections said they had been contacted by the Democratic party, and only 24 percent said they had been contacted by the Republican party.

The survey’s organizers said parties should put effort into reaching out to Asian American voters. Asian Americans are of growing importance in many competitive states and Congressional districts. According to AAPI Data, Asian American voters will be key in Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan for the Presidential election.

Campaigns could improve their AAPI voter outreach by providing better language assistance. According to AAPI Data, language need is actually higher among Asian Americans than Latinx people.

Policy Issues

The survey also asked participants about their opinions on certain policy issues and dispelled some stereotypical misconception about Asian American policy positions.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a dramatic increase in discrimination against Asian Americans. Fifty-one percent of Asian Americans expressed frequent concern about experiencing harassment, discrimination and hate crimes because of COVID-19.

In the wake of increased focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, Asian Americans also demonstrated a concern for discrimination against Black people

“Asian Americans are firmly on the side of racial justice and with our Black brothers and sisters,” Ramakrishnan said. “I think that’s important to flag.”

In November, California voters will vote to determine whether or not affirmative action should be restored. A handful of Asian American groups have voiced their opposition to affirmative action and many hold the stereotypical belief is that Asian Americans do not support affirmative action.

The survey, however, found that 70 percent of Asian Americans favor affirmative action. John C. Yang, the president and executive director of AAJC, says that Asian American support of affirmative action continues to increase. In 2016, 64 percent of Asian Americans favored affirmative

“There has been so much mobilization and media attention to that issue,” Janelle Wong, a researcher for AAPI Data stated. “but it’s interesting to me that the community as a whole has stayed really steady on support for race-conscious admission.”

The survey also demonstrated overwhelming Asian American support on issues not typically associated with Asian American voters. Approximately 81 percent of voters surveyed showed support for stricter gun control laws and 77 percent believe that Congress should pass stronger legislation to reduce the impact of climate change.

Gun control and climate change are not issues typically associated with Asian Americans, Ramakrishnan says.

AAPI Data, APIA Vote and AAJC hope that the results of the survey underscore the importance of engaging Asian American voters. Asian Americans remain a persuadable voting bloc who care about a wide-range of policy issues.

“Our vote is not a lock by any means,” Ramakrishnan said noting that Vietnamese Americans have shifted their support to Republicans over the years. “I think this just means that the parties and campaigns, including issues campaigns, have to pay attention to our communities.

All of the published results can be found here.

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  1. I’m “Asian American” (i.e, American of Asian descent) and I do NOT support Affirmative Action. I am fifth generation, so I certainly have experience with Affirmative Action — it is a divisive and insidious program that undermines every applicant. The program sows mistrust and assumptions that create an insurmountable hurdle to being accepted on individual merit.
    Wake up those of you who continue to buy into the propaganda supporting this evil program.


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