WASHINGTON, D.C. — Indian-American voters are most likely to support former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, an early poll of the Asian American and Pacific Islander(AAPI) community has found.
The poll, conducted by Change Research and sponsored by Investingin.us and the AAPI Victory Fund — the first and only major Asian American Political Action Committee, founded and co-chaired by longtime Democratic Party activist and fund-raiser — released on Sept. 8 in connection to the first-ever AAPI Democratic Presidential Forum held in Costa Mesa, California, also said, “Most voters, irrespective of the candidate they supported, perceived Biden as having the best chance of beating President Trump.”
At the outset, it said, “Heading into the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, early polling with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters indicated a three-way tie between Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.”
The poll found voters of Chinese descent were the likeliest to be undecided, and least likely to support Biden; most Filipino/a voters supported either Biden or Warren; and voters of Indian descent were likeliest by far to support Biden.
Varun Nikore, another longtime Democratic Party activist and the founder of the now defunct Indian American Leadership Initiative (IALI), which was founded over a decade ago to fund and support Indian American candidates seeking public office — said, “Our polling results suggest AAPI voters judge electability differently.”
Nikore, now the president of the AAPI Victory Fund, noted that “a voter may support a certain candidate, but when it comes to the election, they believe that Biden has the best chance of beating President Donald Trump. “With 10 months to go until convention, including many more debates and greater campaign engagement with AAPIs, we will likely see shifts in candidate support in the community,” he said.
The poll also gauged satisfaction among three AAPI candidates — U.S.RepresentativeTulsi Gabbard( D-Hawaii) — Samoan-born and the first Hindu- American elected to the U.S. Congress and the first Hindu- American ever running for the presidency; U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — who is of Indian-American and African American heritage — and Chinese American entrepreneur Andrew Yang, nd it was revealed that AAPI voters were most enthusiastic about Harris and Yang — roughly 55 percent would be satisfied with these two, and 15-20 percent unsatisfied.
Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal, former Republican Governor of Louisiana was the first Indian- American to run for the presidency in 2016, but although born Hindu, converted to Christianity at age 14, but his parents Amar and Raj Jindal remain stalwarts of the Hindu community in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, and Amar Jindal was one of the early benefactors and founder of the Hindu Temple of Baton Rouge.
According to the Change Research/AAPI poll, the”two candidates do not differ significantly with their numbers among most individual AAPI groups, except that Yang looks much better among younger voters and Harris among older voters.”
Ben Greenfield of Change Research, who was the point person conducting the poll, said, “We found that, while AAPI voters are roughly aligned with other Democratic primary voters on their presidential preferences, their choices are being guided by concerns that are unique to their communities.”
He said, “They feel direct threats from White nationalism, racial and religious profiling, and are even more focused than other Democratic primary voters on issues like education and preventing gun violence.”
Among the top issues that dominated the poll among AAPI voters were health care, climate change, gun violence prevention and education.
The poll also found that 94 percent of voters supported workers’ right to organize or form a union without fear of intimidation from their employer, while 70 percent of voters felt White nationalism is a major threat, and another 17 percent a somewhat large threat. But the consensus among large majorities of every AAPI group what that it was undeniably a threat.
Racial or religious profiling was also a major concern, “with 60 percent of voters rating it a 10 out of 10, indicating that they are extremely concerned.”
Nikore said, “What’s important for us at this stage is to amplify how AAPIs feel on key issues so the candidates have a broader set of awareness.
“Our poll showed that we care deeply about issues that affect our daily lives,” he said, and added, “While education and immigration reform remain high on the what we care deeply about, the most important aspect of our poll is our very strong support for unions, gun violence prevention and concerns about climate change.”