Last week, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina came under fire for their offensive comments on Asian immigrants. Bush noted in his visit to border city McAllen, TX, that the phenomenon of so-called “anchor babies” was “frankly, more related to Asian people,” while Fiorina called in Le Mars, Iowa for the urgent resolution of “festering problems” like the Chinese birth tourism industry in the United States.
This brings up an important question of whether anti-immigrant rhetoric could hurt candidates among Asian American voters. In the 2014 APIAVote & Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC 2014 Voter Survey of registered Asian American voters, for which AAPI Data provided research support, respondents were asked:
“If a political candidate expressed strongly anti-immigrant views, but you agreed with him or her on other issues, would you still vote for that candidate, or would you vote for someone else?”As the results indicate, 41% of registered Asian American voters indicated that they would vote for someone else, while 37% said they would stick with their candidate, and 22% said they didn’t know. These results were similar across detailed Asian subgroups, with two notable exceptions: Korean Americans were more likely than the Asian American average to say that they would vote for someone else, while Vietnamese American voters largely said that they would stick with their candidate.