Nevada Asian-Americans favor Obama

Obama For Nevada targets Asian- American vote

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – If elections were held today, among Nevada Asian-Americans, President Barack Obama will prevail over Republican Mitt Romney. But not by much. In fact, he could just as easily lose.

In a recent poll by an Asian Pacific American voting rights group, Obama has the softest support among Nevada Asian-Americans than anywhere else in the country.

Even though more than half, 54 percent, say they will vote for Obama in November, 29 percent, the largest nationwide, say they could support Romney.

The poll by Lake Research Partners for APIA Vote was conducted April 5-15, and released recently. A total of 713 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were interviewed by phone, with 100 more from Florida, Illinois and Virginia. The sampling margin of error was +/-3.7 percent.

In Nevada, 112 were interviewed, and the sampling margin of error was +/- 9.3 percent.

In the Obama-Romney match up, the Nevada poll result was the most dramatic, according to pollster Celinda Lake. Nearly three in 10 said they have no opinion of Romney, leaving a lot of room to define him.

Although Asian Americans overwhelmingly like President Obama, with nearly three-quarters viewing him favorably, they feel much less so when it comes to his job performance.

This leaves room for Romney and the Republican Party to make in-roads into the Asian-American voting block – if they choose to engage the community.

“Candidates for office and political parties ignore Asian American voters at their own peril,” Lake said. “Many Asian Americans don’t really know the differences between the two leading political parties, because they haven’t been engaged by either Democrats or Republicans. There’s a real opportunity there to define the debate.”

Nevada has experienced one of the most rapid population growth of any state in the U.S, surging by 116 percent between 2000 and 2010.

In a close election, Nevada could end up choosing the president, and Asian-Americans will be a crucial demographic.

The same is true in other swing states, such as Virginia, where the Asian American population has doubled, according to the census, from 2000 to 2010. Almost 7 percent of the total population is Asian Americans.

Other states where the Asian American vote could affect the outcome in a close race are: Colorado (3.7 percent), Pennsylvania (3.2 percent), Florida (3 percent), North Carolina (2.6 percent), Iowa (2.1 percent) and Ohio (2.1 percent).

“We could definitely influence the elections,” said Rozita Lee, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and a Las Vegas resident. “If they don’t pay attention to us, they could lose.”

Other key findings:

  • 20 percent rate Obama’s performance poorly, compared to 12 percent nationwide.
  • 68 view Obama favorably, compared to 73 percent nationwide.
  • 58 percent view the Democratic Party favorably to 65 percent nationwide.
  • 24 percent identify with the Republican Party to 16 percent nationwide.

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