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Obama, McCain camps eye Asian-Americans

October 07, 2008 10:42 IST

A new study has shown that a good many Asian Americans are supporting Senator Barack Obama [Images] in the November 4 showdown but at the same time a sizeable population is undecided leading to the conclusion that the large voter group is under scrutiny of the two campaigns.

Coverage: US Elections 2008

Given the tight races being predicted in battleground states such as Florida [Images], Colorado and Ohio, the Asian American voters may just tip the balance, it is being pointed out.
The study was conducted by four leading universities -- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley); University of California, Riverside (UC  Riverside); and University of Southern California (USC).

The recent National Asian American Survey (NAAS) shows that 41 per cent of Asian Americans are likely to favour Obama while 24 per cent support John McCain [Images].

In battleground states, where either candidate could win on election day, Obama leads with 43 per cent support of the Asians against 22 per cent favouring McCain, according to a statement posted by WebWire.

Researchers point out that a key finding of the study is the high proportion of 34 per cent undecided Asian voters. The multi-ethnic, multi-lingual survey of more than 4,000 Asian Americans likely to vote in the election was conducted from August 18 to September 26.

It is the most comprehensive survey to date of the political views of the community with interviews conducted in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Next to Latinos, Asians are the fastest growing population in the US. They are likely play a significant role in battleground states such as Virginia, Nevada and Washington, where they account for 5 per cent or more of the total population, according to the researchers.

Even in states such as Colorado, Ohio and Florida, where they are in less number, Asians may provide the margin of victory, the researchers said.

The survey also reveals that support for the candidates does vary between Asian American ethnic groups. Among those who have made up their minds on a candidate, two-thirds of Vietnamese Americans support McCain while Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans and Indian Americans support Obama by more than a three-to-one ratio.

Korean and Filipino Americans who are likely voters also support Obama over McCain, but the gap is much smaller, with ratios less than 1.4 to 1.

The survey has found that the majority of Asian Americans, who voted in the primary, supported Hillary Clinton [Images] over Obama by nearly 2 to 1. But Clinton supporters now overwhelmingly plan to vote for Obama rather than for McCain by a 59 per cent to 10 per cent margin.

About 80 per cent of likely voters of the community list the economy as one of the most important problems the nation faces followed by the war in Iraq.

Overall 32 per cent of all Asian Americans identify themselves as Democrats; 14 per cent as Republicans; 19 per cent as independent and 35 per cent as non partisan, not fitting into any of the major party categories.

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