Donald Trump is wildly unpopular among Asian-American voters, who are flocking to the Democratic Party, according to a new survey.
Only 19 percent of Asian Americans hold a favorable view of the presumptive Republican nominee, according to a survey of more than 1,000 registered Asian Americans conducted by three Asian-American NGOs, while 61 percent view him unfavorably.
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That's nearly the opposite of Hillary Clinton, who is viewed favorably by 62 percent of Asian Americans — one of the fastest-growing minority populations in the country — and unfavorably by 26 percent. Clinton also scores 14 percentage points higher than her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, who earns a 48 percent favorability rating.
The survey asked respondents whether they planned to vote for a generic Republican or a Democrat in upcoming House and Senate races; it found that Asian American voters preferred Democrats by roughly a two-to-one margin. All told, Asian Americans hold a net favorable view of the Democratic Party, 66 percent favorable to 19 percent unfavorable, and a net unfavorable view of the GOP, 46 percent unfavorable to 28 percent favorable.
In 2012, Asian-Americans voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 73 percent to 26 percent — and they've moved even further toward the Democratic Party since then. While just 35 percent of Asian Americans identified as Democrats in 2012, 47 percent do so today; those identifying as Republicans have declined slightly from 18 percent in 2012 to 15 percent in 2016, within the survey's margin of error.
One thing that seems to be driving the shift: rhetoric about minorities from Republican politicians, even if it isn't directed at Asian Americans themselves. Forty-one percent of those surveyed, for example, said they would "vote for someone else" if a candidate "expressed strong anti-immigrant views" even if they agreed on other issues. A similar percentage said they would switch their votes if candidate expressed "strong anti-Muslim views."
Trump would appear to be an equal-opportunity offender — he has angered Latinos by accusing Mexico of sending "rapists" across the border and outraged Muslims by calling for a complete ban on their entry into the United States. But he has also repeatedly imitated Asian accents at his rallies, portraying Chinese trade negotiators as saying "We want deal" in one instance and doing an impression of an Indian call-center worker in another.
The survey was conducted over landlines and cell phones from April 11 to May 17 by the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) and AAPI Data and included 1,212 registered Asian American voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.