Trump who? For Indian Americans, it’s Hillary all the way
Hillary Clinton was the choice of 67% of registered Indian-American voters, while Donald Trump got the support of only 7%, behind even the 8% respondents who are supporting other candidates.us presidential election Updated: Oct 11, 2016 21:45 IST
Indian-Americans remain overwhelmingly Democratic or Democratic-leaning and are solidly behind the party’s presidential nominee Hillary Clinton despite the headline-grabbing political action committee launched in support of Republican nominee Donald Trump by a handful of them.
Clinton was the choice of 67% of registered Indian-American voters, while Trump got the support of only 7%, behind even the 8% respondents supporting other candidates, 10% who still don't know who they will vote for and 8% who refused to answer, according to a new poll.
A clear majority of them are Democrats or leaning towards that party — 71%, compared to 14% who said they were Independents, and 13% who were Republican or leaning towards that party.
The picture changed if the "leaners" were not taken into account — the number for Democrats dropped to 53%, Independents shot up to 37% and Republicans dropped to 7%.
These were the findings of the Fall 2016 National Asian American Survey released last week. It was conducted among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in August-September, after the conventions of the two parties and the first presidential debate.
Indian-Americans, called Asian Indians in the survey, are the second largest chunk of this ethnic mix, at 19%, after Chinese Americans who were at 23%, and ahead of Filipinos who were at 16%.
Indian-Americans have historically been solidly Democratic and remain so despite some movements towards the Republican Party. More of them are identifying as Democrats or Democrat-leaning in 2016 — 71% — compared to 58% in 2012, when President Barack Obama was running for his second term.
Could this be because they are leaning away from Trump, despite “Indian Americans for Trump”, a political action committee launched by some to garner support for the real estate mogul? Has his divisive campaign driven away those who might have been considering the Republican Party, as many have said they fear? A whopping 79% of Indian-Americans had an unfavourable opinion of Trump, compared to 23% who thought poorly of Clinton, whose favourability stood at 71% compared to her rival's 11%.
The poll found 78% of Indian-Americans were overwhelmingly against Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the US, a position he has since changed in favour of "extreme vetting" to keep out those with suspect intentions.
The support of Indian-Americans for the Democratic Party and its candidate was rooted in issues. They were found to be huge supporters of Obama's healthcare reform package, which Trump has threatened to kill. They were also strong supporters of the government doing more to "give blacks equal rights with whites", which would have left them leery of Trump's thinly veiled flirtation with white supremacist elements.
The surprise finding of the survey, however, was support in the Indian-American community for legalising marijuana — 48% were for legalisation, and 43% opposed it.