Exit polls from the last two presidential election show Asian Americans are much more likely to vote for Democrats over Republicans.
(CN) — Out of all major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., Asian Americans have become the fastest-growing demographic of eligible voters.
According to the Pew Research Center study, Asian Americans make up 4.7% of the U.S. electorate this year –a record high for that group.
Slightly outpacing the growth rate of Hispanic voters between 2000 and 2020, the number of Asian Americans that became eligible voters more than doubled during that time period, growing by 139%.
By comparison, the Hispanic electorate grew by 121% while black and white electorates grew at much slower rates of 33% and 7%, respectively.
Pew researchers analyzed Census Bureau data and noted that six specific origin groups – Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese – make up 85% of the Asian American population and account for the majority of Asian voters in the U.S.
The rapid increase in Asian American voters has been largely driven by naturalized immigrants. Between 2000 and 2018, according to the report, the number of Asian immigrant eligible voters doubled from 3.3 million to 6.9 million, and about two-thirds of all Asian American voters are naturalized citizens, as opposed to those born in the U.S.
Pew researchers found that ethnic origins of this diverse group of voters affects political party identification. Indian Americans, for example, are the most likely to be Democrats while Vietnamese Americans are much more likely than Asian American voters overall to identify as Republican.
Data from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or AALDEF, back up those findings.
A 2012 exit poll found that 77% of Asian Americans voted for incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama, compared to 21% for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The only Asian ethic group that supported Romney over Obama was Vietnamese Americans, who backed the GOP candidate by a margin of 54% to 44%.
In 2016, 79% of Asian Americans voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton compared to just 18% for Republican Donald Trump, according to the AALDEF exit poll.
“Asian American voters are often not included in large enough numbers in many polls that are picked up by mainstream media, and as a result, Asian American civic engagement, voting preferences, and issues of concern can easily be ignored by elected officials and government agencies,” an AALDEF spokesperson said.
Among all eligible voters in the U.S., Asian Americans have the highest levels of education of any major racial and ethnic group, according to the Pew study.