Asian Americans: Now a more cohesive voting bloc

By Politico - October 4, 2021

Ahead of the 2022 midterms, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found that Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders are significantly more likely to be mobilized by a shared fear of violence and discrimination than before the pandemic.

In 2020, amid a year of violence and fear, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were hypervisible – and that changed the way they look at themselves and politics, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

As the global pandemic took hold, then-President Donald Trump started using xenophobic terms to blame the Chinese for spreading Covid-19. Anti-Asian hate crimes spiked, with people self-reporting more than 9,000 incidents to the advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate.

A shooter in Atlanta killed eight people, six of them East Asian women, and sparked national outrage. Then came a shooting in Indianapolis that had Sikhs mourning.

All of these events created a political solidarity unlike anything the community has seen before. The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — one of the most extensive surveys across nearly 50 ethnic groups that make up the diaspora — shows that 2 in 10 adults are now more likely to identify with the broader “AAPI” label than they were pre-pandemic, a notable shift for a racial group that tends to be “nationality-first.” This movement in identity, on the heels of a massive voter turnout jump from 2016 to 2020, is key to building electoral clout, experts say.

The heightened solidarity promises to change both the way Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders vote and the way campaigns reach out to them, according to interviews with numerous people involved in AAPI politics or campaigns that made overtures to AAPI voters.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said violence was a major threat during the pandemic. Sixty-two percent said discrimination was a major threat. Though the number dropped off for white supremacy, 50 percent of respondents still considered it a major threat.

Studies find that over three-fourths of perpetrators are white (despite viral images and media portrayals of people of color as anti-Asian perpetrators), but it’s hard for many AAPIs to connect that to “white supremacy,” Choimorrow said.


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Tags: AAPI, Asian Americans, elections, hate crimes