Political Animal


February 12, 2013 3:59 PM Just When You Thought Republicans Only Had To Worry About Latinos…

By Ed Kilgore

It’s no secret that the GOP’s political weakness among minority voters is pervasive. But as Jamelle Bouie points out today at TAP, it’s not particularly well known that Republicans are actually doing better in one rapidly growing demographic—Latinos—than in another—Asian-Americans:

A whopping 73 percent of Asians supported Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, up 11 percent from four years ago [and two points higher than his margin among Latinos]. When you disaggregate by nationality, the difference between Asian support for Obama and Romney is even more stark and begins to approach African American-levels of support for the president.

Just as Republican strength among Cuban-Americans helps offset overwhelming Democratic margins among other Latinos, Vietnamese-Americans (and to a far lesser extent, Filipino-Americans) obscure the rather massive tilt of other categories of Asian-Americans towards the Democratic Party: Obama won over 80% among Americans with Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and Bangledeshi backgrounds. As Bouie concludes:

Simply put, the Republican Party has an “Asian problem” that rivals their “Latino problem” in size and scope. So far, it’s gone under the radar. But given the pace of Asian immigration to the United States—and the growing Asian populations of states like Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia—Republicans can’t ignore it for long.
Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • MuddyLee on February 12, 2013 4:07 PM:

    Asians, Hispanics, African Americans....But the Republicans are way, way ahead with the Ted Nugents and the John C. Calhouns.

  • max on February 12, 2013 4:08 PM:

    Republicans canít ignore it for long.

    Sure they can. They are, they have and they will. Just like their 'Come to Jesus' moment on immigration isn't about getting right with Hispanics, it's about getting something for their donors and trying to get some good press with their friends.

    As it stands, the thinking that promotes Rubio (or Jindal) is the same thinking that says nominating Hermann Cain for Pres. is an evolution, rather than a simple headfake.

    ['It is not to be forgotten that in Antebellum South Carolina, the upper-crust liked to promote a 'good' 'mulatto' to prove that they were good people, and it was all the fault of the slaves for being enslaved.']

  • Josef K on February 12, 2013 4:10 PM:

    Just as Republican strength among Cuban-Americans helps offset overwhelming Democratic margins among other Latinos

    Is this actually documented, or just a bit of CW mythology?

  • bleh on February 12, 2013 4:14 PM:

    The International Language of Xenophobic Assholery transcends boundaries, ethnicities, and cultures.

    Once again, Republicans have demonstrated their geopolitical genius. Truly a "Nixon in China" moment. Except, you know, different.

  • Just Dropping By on February 12, 2013 4:42 PM:

    I agree that the GOP has a problem with Asian voters, but I wouldn't start hyperventilating about it at this point. The percentage of Asian voters in the electorates of most swing states are in the low single digits. The Asian-American population as a whole is only 4.8% of the US population, includes many non-citizens or people too young to vote, and is disproportionately concentrated in states the Republicans would be losing anyway, e.g., Pacific coast, New York, etc. Basically, if a statewide or national Republican candidate loses, the Asian-American vote is unlikely to have made a difference unless the candidate dramatically overperformed with those voters.

  • Renai on February 12, 2013 4:43 PM:

    Look for an Asian-American on Fox in three, two, ....

  • Patience on February 12, 2013 5:00 PM:

    Josef K.: The Cuban-American lean towards Republicans is documented in Florida, where it was historically large enough to make a difference in close elections (and large enough to be documented by polling), and anecdotal evidence suggests it exists elsewhere (especially New Jersey), but it's believed that it's becoming less and less important as younger Cuban-Americans tend to be more Democratic than older ones, and as the actual composition of the Hispanic vote in Florida comes to include a wider mix of national backgrounds.

  • HokieAnnie on February 12, 2013 8:28 PM:

    The Asian vote in Virginia save for Vietnamese has become very reliably Democratic in no small part due to stupid actions like Senator George Allen's use of a less common offensive word towards an Desi college student who was tasked to be his tracker.

    But more importantly GOP's xenophobia in Priince William county and their war against education turned Korean and South Asian families into reliable Democratic voters. The numbers might be small but those voters lie in key swing areas of Northern VA,so they cost the GOP dearly in 2008 and 2012.

  • liam foote on February 12, 2013 9:01 PM:

    I wouldn't generalize about Vietnamese at this point. At the fall of Saigon in 1975 and for several decades they could be safely considered as adamantly anti-communist and conservative as the anti-Castro Cubans. But there have been major changes as the Vietnamese population has grown, attended American universities, and begun to test the political waters.

    They recall that conservative Americans in the days of the "boat people" railed against them and their alleged welfare dependency and "anchor babies" and the same nonsense being spouted now. It may be safe to say that the Vietnamese of that era, along with the Cambodians and Laotians, remember those days and hear the echoes.

  • Daddy Love on February 12, 2013 10:52 PM:

    If you're a rich asshole or an ignorant, fearful white male. Vote Republican! If you are neither, you already know better.

  • Anonymous on February 13, 2013 10:51 AM:

    "Obama won over 80% among Americans with Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and Bangledeshi backgrounds."

    Given the religious heritage of the last 3 of those 4 groups, the Republicans would seem to have not-so-much an "Asian problem" as a Muslim-Hindu problem. But didn't we know that already?