Voter Survey Results reveals the U.S. Indian diaspora’s growing political power

by Sep 16, 2020Diaspora0 comments

Sixty-five percent of Indian Americans currently favour VP Biden, and twenty-eight percent favour President Trump, with both Democratic and Republican parties reaching out to this increasingly influential voting bloc for the 2020 presidential election, says Indiaspora and AAPI Data’s joint report.

Data released recently by two US-based organisations reveal through their joint report Indian American voters’ attitudes in the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election and talks of the strengthening political power of the Indian American electorate in the U.S. due to factors such as their rapidly growing population and increased political participation.

“With increased attention being paid to the Indian American vote given our growing numbers, increasing political contributions and overall political engagement, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the issues that really matter to Indian American voters,” said MR Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, one of the organisations conducting the survey.

The report, which has survey results of 260 Asian Indian registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, found that some of the issues at the top of the list for Indian Americans in this election included education, jobs and economy, health care, and the environment.

The report also chronicles the rise of the Indian American electorate as one of the fastest-growing minority groups in the U.S., with significant numbers in “battleground” states.

“Indian Americans are positioned to make a difference in several swing states that may be close in this election, such as Florida (87,000), Pennsylvania (61,000), Georgia (57,000), Michigan (45,000), and North Carolina (36,000), and perhaps even Texas, which has 160,000 Indian-American voters,” said Dr Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor of public policy and political science at UC Riverside, and founder of AAPI Data. “Given Senator Kamala Harris’s historic vice presidential nomination, as well as highly publicized rallies that President Trump and Prime Minister Modi held together, high turnout could make a huge difference in this election.”

Currently, there are 1.8 million Indian Americans in the U.S. who are eligible voters. About 310,000 Indian green card holders remain in a backlog for citizenship as of 2019, and another 310,000 Indian residents in the U.S. are in a backlog to obtain their green cards.

In addition, Indian American political engagement extended to several areas, with a fifth of Indian American registered voters saying they contacted their representative or government official in the U.S. this year, 74 percent had discussed politics with family and friends, and a quarter of those surveyed had donated to a candidate, political party or campaign this year. By the end of June 2020, Indian Americans had donated at least $3 million to 2020 presidential campaigns.

Both Democratic and Republican parties have conducted outreach to Indian Americans in this election, with 56 percent of Indian American registered voters surveyed saying they had been contacted by the Democratic party in the past year, and 48 percent saying they had been contacted by the Republican party. This is a marked increase from 2016, when only 31 percent of Indian Americans said they had been contacted by a political party, compared to 44 percent of White voters and 42 percent of Black voters.

In addition, several hundred Indian American candidates also are running for office in record numbers at federal, state and local levels.

“Given the Indian diaspora’s increasing political importance in the U.S, it’s no surprise they are being courted by both sides of the aisle,” said MR Rangaswami, Founder of Indiaspora. “It’s great that both major political parties have begun to realize just how critical it is to reach out to Indian Americans – our impact is only going to increase over time.”

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • 65 percent of Indian Americans currently favor Vice President Biden, 28 percent favor President Trump, and 6 percent were undecided. In the 2016 presidential election, 77 percent voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton, and 16 percent voted for President Trump.
  • 54 percent of Indian Americans identified as Democrats, 16 percent as Republicans, and 24 percent as Independents. In 2016, 46 percent of Indian American voters identified as Democrat, 35 percent were Independent or Other, and 19 percent identified as Republican.
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