Poll Finds Asian American Voters Backed Prop 30

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Asian American voters in California supported Proposition 30 on Election Day and favor budget solutions that include increasing taxes on the wealthy, according to preliminary findings from a statewide, post-election poll of Asian American voters conducted by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), in partnership with the National Asian American Survey (NAAS).

Approximately 65 percent of Asian Americans statewide who cast ballots in the Nov. 6 election supported Proposition 30, the California ballot initiative that will raise $6 billion to $9 billion to fund K-12 and community college education, while 76 percent generally supported increasing state personal income taxes on the wealthy.

Diane Ujiiye, director of Asian and Pacific Islanders California Action Network (APIsCAN), speaks at a “Yes on Prop. 30” press conference in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. (Photo by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo)

“Discussions in California around Proposition 30 and the state budget crisis set the stage for today’s national debate around the ‘fiscal cliff,'” said Stewart Kwoh, APALC president and executive director. “These data show that Asian Americans support taxation proposals like President Obama’s that ask wealthy Americans to pay their fair share.”

The poll also addressed immigration, another issue likely to receive increased attention in coming months. Approximately 82 percent of Asian American voters statewide said immigration played an important role in how they viewed presidential candidates and 76 percent expressed support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a recent federal policy that prevents the deportation of certain young people who came to the U.S. without documentation as children and allows them to work.

“DACA was an important first step,” said APALC Policy Director Betty Hung. “Now it’s time for Congress and the president to make broader, humane immigration reform a priority and fix our broken immigration system.”

In the presidential race, approximately 70 percent of Asian American voters statewide supported Obama’s re-election.

The poll is being conducted in English, Spanish and seven Asian languages, including Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Preliminary findings were based on an early sample of nearly 1,800 Asian American voters statewide. Once complete later this month, the poll will have surveyed nearly 10,000 voters and 5,000 Asian American voters statewide and will provide ethnic and county-level detail for Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties.

“Any poll targeting Asian Americans needs to survey our community in large numbers and do so in Asian languages,” said Dan Ichinose, director of APALC’s Demographic Research Project. “This may be the largest poll of its kind in the history of our state and is certainly an important step toward better understanding one of America’s fastest-growing electorates.”

The poll is being conducted by APALC in partnership with NAAS, one of the nation’s leading surveys of Asian Americans and NHPI (Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders), and its director, Karthick Ramakrishnan. Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Asian Law Alliance, Asian Law Caucus (member of Advancing Justice), Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance, and National Korean American Service and Education Consortium provided critical guidance on questionnaire content.

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