DemDaily: Winning The Asian American Vote

January 29, 2019

NY Congresswoman & DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng leading AAPI outreach

The fastest growing racial group in the country is Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and both parties are actively wooing this valuable voting bloc.

AAPIs comprise approximately 6.4% of the US population and 4% of the voting electorate.  While they have moved left in recent years, Asian American voters are still largely up for grabs.

According to figures from the last presidential race, a combined 44% of Asian Americans either said they weren't registered to vote or had no response to that question, and nearly two in five still didn't identify as either a Democrat or Republican.

2018, however, was encouraging for Democrats, who are making an investment in outreach to the AAPI community, which is expected to double in size by 2040.

According to Pew Research, 20+ million Asian Americans trace their roots to more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, each with unique histories, cultures, languages and other characteristics. The 19 largest origin groups together account for 94% of the total Asian population in the U.S.

Asian American voters are making an impact. In 2018 there were 37 congressional races in 17 different states where the AAPI electorate was greater than the margin of victory.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), part Somoan, and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), part Indian, are both running for President

Voter participation increased from 2016, when AAPIs comprised 3.6% of all voters, and 2.8% in 2012.

According to an October, 2018 APIAVote survey, Asian American registered voters held a net unfavorable view of the Republican Party, with 52% viewing the party unfavorably and 34% viewing it favorably.

At the same time, Asian American registered voters gave the Democratic Party a large net favorable rating (58%-28%).

The 2018 midterms also ushered in three new AAPI freshmen, bringing the total of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders in Congress to an all-time high of 20, only one of which is a Republican.


AAPI Members of Congress
Member State District Party Ethnicity
US Senate
Tammy Duckworth Illinois State D Thai Chinese
Kamala Harris California State D Indian
Mazie Hirono Hawaii State D Japanese
US House
Ami Bera California 7 D Indian
Judy Chu California 27 D Chinese
TJ Cox California 21 D Filipino Chinese
Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii 2 D Samoan
Pramila Jayapal Washington 7 D Indian
Ro Khanna California 17 D Indian
Andy Kim New Jersey 3 D Korean
Raja Krishnamoorthi Illinois 8 D Indian
Ted Lieu California 33 D Taiwanese
Doris Matsui California 6 D Japanese
Grace Meng New York 6 D Taiwanese
Stephanie Murphy Florida 7 D Vietnamese
Gregorio Sablan* Northern Mariana Islands At-Large D (Ind) Chamorro
Michael San Nicolas* Guam At-Large D Chamorro
Amata Radewagen* American Somoa At-Large R Somoan
Bobby Scott Virginia 3 D Filipino
Mark Takano California 41 D Japanese


These include three US Senators, two of which are running for US President, 14 Members of the House, and *three non-voting Delegates from US Territories.

Geographically the AAPI population is concentrated primarily in urban areas and in key presidential states, including California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

The Democratic Party also holds a sizable advantage on most issues of importance to AAPI voters, with the greatest gaps found on the environment, racial discrimination, health care, and gun control.

Republicans, however, fare stronger on issues like taxes, jobs and the economy, and national security.

However, while Democrats may be winning the battle for the Asian American vote, the race is far from over.

This is an increasingly important electoral force at the polls - - and one that will require a full courtship if we are to cross the finish line together.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Connecting you to Each Other

Kimberly Scott

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Resources: Pew Research, APAICS, NBCNews, AAPI Vote, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, CAPAC

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