President Obama’s family ties to Hawaii and Indonesia are paying off big among Asian voters.
In the first of its kind poll of Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, he not only owns the heavily Democratic group, but their surging population could vault him to reelection wins in Virginia, Florida, Illinois and Nevada, all but locking down a second term.
Powerhouse Democratic pollster Celinda Lake found that about three-quarters of voters with roots to China, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan favor Obama, the rest Mitt Romney. Obama scores highest among Indian-American voters, with an 86 percent favorable rating.
What’s more, Lake found that on every major issue of the day, Asians say Democrats are better managers.
While he has family ties to Asia, Obama has also expanded political ties to the region, even using Hawaii as his Christmas vacation spot and hosting an Asian summit there last year. He recently visited South Korea. And today he named May Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Their vote could have a huge impact in two states Romney needs to win the White House, Florida and Virginia. Christine Chen, acting executive director of Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote, said they could bring 47,000 votes in Virginia and 33,000 more in Florida. The problem she said: the parties aren’t reaching out to Asian voters, possibly opening the to Republicans if they woo them more.
Added Lake, “They haven’t been engaged by either party. There’s a real opportunity there to define the debate.”