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85% Indian-Americans want second term for Obama

world Updated: May 03, 2012 02:02 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Indian-Americans are overwhelmingly in favour of Barack Obama and his Democratic Party, and disdainfully dismissive of his Republican rival Mitt Romney and his party.

A new survey, results of which were released on Tuesday, showed that 85% Indian-Americans had a favourable impression of President Obama. And 56% of them thought poorly of Romney.

Asked who they would vote for if elections were held today — Indian Americans were totally for Obama over Romney (76 to 8%), over Santorum (72-8) or any other Republican candidate.

Of the Asian-American communities surveyed, Indian-Americans were the most pro-Democrats and most anti-Republicans.

Asian-Americans are the fastest growing ethnic community in the US, according to the 2010 census, grown by 46% since 2000. They are expected to be 9% of the population by 2050. Chinese (4 million), Korean, Filipino, Japanese and Vietnamese are other nationalities that, with Indians (3.23 million), comprise the growing community.

The survey — the first of Asian Americans yet — was conducted by Lake Research Partners, a DC-based political consultancy firm, with APIA Vote, Asian American Institute and Asian American Justice Center.

An Indian-American running for US House of Representative from a district in Texas said he wasn’t in the least bit surprised by the findings of the survey.

“Most Indian-Americans would identify themselves as Democrats, though a few, who have made a lot of money, might become Republicans,” he said, not wanting to be identified.

Difficult to explain, therefore, the two Indian American governors in the US — Nikky Haley and Bobby Jindal — are both from the Republican Party.

But Lal Motwani, president of the National Federation of Indian-American Federations, pointed to the large number of Indian-Americans in the Obama administration.

USAID chief Rajiv Shah is the highest ranking Indian-American in the Obama administration. Aneesh Chopra was Obama’s IT czar till he left earlier in the year.

It’s Indian-Americans again who said Obama has done an excellent/good job as president — 66% — when the larger Asian-American community was split 49-49. And the Democrats could do no wrong: they were better than Republicans on health care, creating jobs, foreign policy, national security, taxes and immigration. Everything.

Asian-Americans are politically important but they are not courted either by Democrats or Republicans, barring a few noticeable exceptions.

“Presidential candidates and political parties ignore Asian-American voters at their own peril,” said pollster Celinda Lake.

The Obama administration, to its credit, hasn’t. It reaches out to this community on the Obama-Biden homepage seeking to engage it, and perhaps, get it to write a few cheques.

Indian Americans, for instance, have donated generously to the Obama campaign, with a few heavy-hitters raising upwards of $500,000. There aren’t many of them among Romney donors.