AAPI Battleground Poll Finds Three-Way Tie For Democratic Nomination
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AAPI Victory Fund
September 11, 2019

AAPI Battleground Poll Finds Three-Way Tie For Democratic Nomination

Health Care, Climate, Gun Violence Prevention and Education Leading Issues

WASHINGTON—Heading into the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, early polling with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters indicated a three-way tie between Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Voters of Chinese descent were the likeliest to be undecided, and least likely to support Biden; most Filipino/a voters supported either Biden or Warren; voters of Indian descent were likeliest by far to support Biden. Most voters, irrespective of the candidate they supported, perceived Biden as having the best chance of beating President Trump. The poll, conducted by Change Research and sponsored by Investingin.us and the AAPI Victory Fund, was released on September 8 in connection to the first-ever AAPI Democratic Presidential Forum held in Costa Mesa, Calif. 

“Our polling results suggest AAPI voters judge electability differently. A voter may support a certain candidate, but when it comes to the election, they believe that Biden has the best chance of beating President Donald Trump,” said Varun Nikore, president of the AAPI Victory Fund. “With 10 months to go until Convention, including many more debates and greater campaign engagement with AAPIs, we will likely see shifts in candidate support in the community.”

The poll also gauged satisfaction among three AAPI candidates—Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang. AAPI voters were most enthusiastic about Harris and Yang; roughly 55% would be satisfied with these two, and 15-20% unsatisfied. The two candidates do not differ significantly with their numbers among most individual AAPI groups, except that Yang looks much better among younger voters and Harris among older voters.

“We found that, while AAPI voters are roughly aligned with other Democratic primary voters on their presidential preferences, their choices are being guided by concerns that are unique to their communities,” said Ben Greenfield, Change Research. “They feel direct threats from White nationalism, racial and religious profiling, and are even more focused than other Democratic primary voters on issues like education and preventing gun violence.”

Health care, climate, gun violence prevention and education dominated as the top issues for AAPI voters. 94% of voters supported workers’ right to organize or form a union without fear of intimidation from their employer. 70% of voters felt White nationalism is a major threat, and another 17% a somewhat large threat—and large majorities of every AAPI group felt that it is a threat. Racial or religious profiling was also a major concern, with 60% of voters rating it a 10 out of 10, indicating that they are extremely concerned. 

“What’s important for us at this stage is to amplify how AAPIs feel on key issues so the candidates have a broader set of awareness,” Nikore said. “Our poll showed that we care deeply about issues that affect our daily lives. While education and immigration reform remain high on the what we care deeply about, the most important aspect of our poll is our very strong support for unions, gun violence prevention and concerns about climate change.” 

A summary of the findings and underlying data can be found at: https://bit.ly/2m55ePF.

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