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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Majority of Indian-Americans back Barack Obama for second term as president

Perhaps it's those high-profile state visits; or maybe those White House events to celebrate Diwali and Guru Nanak anniversary. More likely, it's the familiar immigrant predisposition for the Democratic Party. All things considered, Indian-Americans are going to vote for in droves for Barack Obama second term in the November 2012 Presidential election, notwithstanding occasional heartburn in India over perceived cooling of ties under Democratic dispensation.

A new national survey of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) released on Monday reveals that Indian-Americans are by far the strongest supporters of Barack Obama among the larger AAPI group, siding with him by an overwhelming 68% to 5%, over Republican rival Mitt Romney, with around 25% undecided. At a broader AAPI level, the divide is 43-24 in favor of Obama.

The survey comes at a time when growing Asian-American political influence is already apparent in many states and metropolitan areas, including key presidential battleground states such as Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. As of 2010, AAPI residents exceeded the 5% threshold in roughly one in four Congressional Districts and in nearly 600 cities. In 2012, there are also a record number of Asian Americans running for Congress in 2012, including some half-dozen Indian-Americans, and AAPIs occupy key positions in Washington, D.C. and in various state capitols.

The survey also reveals that Indian-Americans voted for Obama by a massive 93-4 margin in the 2008 Presidential elections involving John McCain, much more than the 84 per cent that was previously estimated for Obama. The President appears to have substantially retained that support among Indian-Americans, scoring the highest job approval rating (84 per cent) among AAPI, where approval is at a more modest 59 per cent, which is still 10 points higher than the national average.

The survey belies speculation that Indian-Americans are veering towards the Republican Party in any significant way as they become wealthier or stay longer in the US, or that their conservative ethic is pulling them towards the GOP, which has some high-profile Indian-American leaders. ''Thus, while Governors Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) and Nikki Haley (South Carolina) are among the strongest critics of Barack Obama, they seem to be in a relatively small minority of Indian Americans who support Mitt Romney,'' the survey notes.

The survey reveals that while Indians, Koreans and Hmongs among the AAPI are most strongly identified with the Democratic Party, Filipino and Vietnamese Americans most strongly identify with Republicans.

Asian Americans exhibit patterns of concentrated geographic settlement in particular states and regions. Five states (California, New York, Texas, Hawaii, and New Jersey) account for about 60% of the national Asian American population, with California by far the largest, accounting for one third of all Asian American adults. Within California, Asian Americans are 15% of the state's resident population. They constitute a majority of the population in Hawaii (57%), and are also a significant portion of the state populations New Jersey (9%), Washington (9%), New York (8%), and Virginia (7%).

Six groups account for 86 percent of the Asian American population in the US with Chinese being the largest (22 per cent) followed by Indian (20 per cent), 18% Filipino, 11% Vietnamese, 10% Korean, and 5% Japanese.

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