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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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Press Contacts: Bilen Mesfin, 510-681-5978,
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Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Voters Trend Democratic; Deeply Dissatisfied with President Trump

Nonpartisan American Election Eve Poll Finds Unprecedented AAPI Mobilization

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund joins allied organizations to release the nonpartisan American Election Eve Poll, which sheds unprecedented light on how African American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Latino, Native American and white voters engaged in the 2018 midterm elections. The poll was commissioned by a cross-sector of organizations to capture a fuller, more accurate picture of the increasingly diverse American electorate.

“Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) show wide support for progressive policy issues, with healthcare as a central issue in addition to the economy and immigration,” said EunSook Lee, Director of the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund. “The poll finds AAPI voters are alarmed with the direction the country is headed in and expressing their dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump. Out of enthusiasm for the democratic process, they are showing their power at the polls and through other forms of participation, which has contributed to the Democratic takeover of the House. With AAPIs activated in momentous levels, it will be important to see how this newfound civic activism will impact public policies in the months to come.”

The poll focused on six states with competitive elections (CA, FL, GA, TX, NV, and AZ), a national survey of 70 House battleground districts with complete samples of Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, African-American, and white voters, and a national survey of Native American voters. The poll was based on randomly selected voters across the entire state, or congressional district, giving all voters an equal chance to participate. 

“Asian American and Pacific Islander voters headed into the 2018 midterms angry about the President’s words and deeds and clearly rejected the Republican Party’s politics of fear and division,” said Taeku Lee, Managing Director of Asian American Decisions. “Continuing the trend of recent elections, AAPIs are now a very solidly Democratic bloc of voters. What’s new for AAPIs in 2018 is the unprecedented levels of civic engagement and voter mobilization.”

Key findings for AAPI voters in battleground districts included:

  • AAPIs voted for Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 70% to 25%
  • 63% of AAPI voters disapproved of the job Donald Trump is doing
  • 73% of AAPI voters in battleground districts encouraged friends or family to register and/or vote
  • Top issues for AAPI voters in battleground districts included:
    • Health care cost/access – 33%
    • Improve economy/create jobs – 25%
    • Immigration/DACA – 19%

“Asian American voters—including Pacific Islanders as well as Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities—are a diverse group that aligns itself with other communities of color,” said Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “The American Election Eve poll confirms what we are seeing in Georgia—that AAPIs are mobilized like never before, with an increase in early voting and other forms of political participation including encouraging friends or family to vote, donating to campaigns, and attending events and rallies.”

“AAPI voters share perspectives with other communities of color on pressing issues high on the progressive agenda including the economy, healthcare, pay equity, and the DREAM Act,” said Geraldine Alcid, Executive Director of Filipino Advocates for Justice. “The growing influence of this electorate is being noticed by parties across the political spectrum. In 2018, Republicans and Democrats reached out to AAPI communities in higher numbers than ever before.”

“It is important to see the data bear out what we already see in our communities—AAPI voters are coming together in greater numbers to hold their elected officials accountable and galvanize their friends and family to turn the tide of this nation toward rights and justice,” said Jonathan Paik, Executive Director of Korean Resource Center. “The poll affirms that AAPI voters are alarmed by the Trump administration’s actions and share a progressive perspective on the issues that matter including healthcare, the economy, and immigration.”

“AAPI voters are too often left out of the national political narrative, getting contacted in lower numbers than any other community of color,” said Deborah Y. Chen, Civic Engagement Programs Director of OCA-Greater Houston. “This year’s American Election Eve poll finds higher mobilization rates by AAPIs which speaks to our growing engagement and activation in U.S. politics—we hope our elected officials will take notice as our influence and participation grow.”

“The circumstances that brought us together are indeed unfortunate, but troubling times don’t just serve as moments for despair; they also serve as moments for change,” said Vetnah “Yemen” Monessar, Executive Director of EMGAGE Florida. “This year’s poll shows that our AAPI and American Muslim communities did not let the circumstances stand as an excuse to build walls of division, instead we made it an impulse for greater communal activism. Because not only is that the principle of being American, but the decree of being human foremost. We also saw that in AAPI voters’ choice to take a significant step forward in the field of civil rights with 68% voting to pass Amendment 4 and restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated people in Florida. We are proud of the Muslim community for having been involved in this effort, following in the footsteps of great Muslim civil rights advocates like Malcolm X.”

“The AAPI community has always been present in NV but is rarely accounted for or dismissed because we are not represented in the data,” said Vida Chan Lin, Executive Director of Asian Community Development Council. “This election ACDC carried out various efforts to help get the AAPI community more involved to vote. By phonebanking and canvassing in various languages, ACDC was able to connect with community members as they felt truly cared for and listened to as they shared concerns in their own language. It is a testament that the AAPI community is strongly present in Nevada, and we do have issues that we deeply care about; it’s a matter of being given the opportunity and resources to speak out and have our voices be amplified and heard. That is why AAPIs showed up to vote; our voices and stories do matter, and it’s time we are seen and heard.”

On Tuesday, November 13, at 9 a.m. PT/Noon ET, AAPI leaders will convene a webinar to examine the results of the nonpartisan American Election Eve Poll, examining how Asian American & Pacific Islander voters engaged in the 2018 midterm elections. If you would like to attend this webinar, please RSVP to Layla Crater at


Full poll results available at



The American Election Eve poll more accurately captures voters of color than mainstream exit polls, demonstrating how voters of color shaped the outcome of the 2018 election. Polling was conducted by Latino Decisions, Asian American Decisions, and African American Research Collaborative. Other co-sponsors of the poll included America’s Voice, Advancement Project, America Votes, APIAHF, Demos, Indivisible, Mi Familia Vota, MoveOn, NAACP, National Council of American Indians, SEIU, and UnidosUS.


The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Civic Engagement Fund is a national initiative established in 2014 to foster a culture of civic participation within AAPI communities by supporting the growth of AAPI groups as leaders in organizational movement and power building to achieve specific policy, systems, and transformational change. We were formed with the belief that AAPIs must be an integral part of strengthening America’s democracy, in advocating for improving the quality of life for all, and in creating vibrant multiracial communities.

2018 National AAPI Eve Poll

2018 Summer Battleground Poll

National Asian American Eve Poll 2016

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Updated on 2018-11-09T19:36:49+00:00, by aapifund.