Seventy-seven percent of Indian Americans who responded to the 2016 National Asian American Survey voted for former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, noted researchers who released results May 15.
Eighty percent of Indian Americans view President Donald Trump unfavorably, according to the survey, which was conducted shortly after the Nov. 8, 2016 general election.
For the first time, the survey disaggregated data about Bangladeshi and Pakistani Americans. Eighty-eight percent of Pakistani Americans and 90 percent of Bangladeshi Americans voted for Clinton. Almost all Pakistani and Bangladeshi Americans view Trump unfavorably, according to the NAAS survey results.
More than 1,100 South Asian Americans participated in the NAAS survey.
Karthick Ramakrishnan, professor and Associate Dean in the School of Public Policy at UC Riverside, who led the survey, told India-West: “There was a greater recognition of South Asian Americans” during the 2016 election cycle.
He noted the influence of Khizr Khan, father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, who berated Trump during the Democratic National Convention for his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
In one of the most powerful prime-time moments of the 2016 convention, Khan pulled out a pocket-sized version of the U.S. Constitution and said: “Donald Trump, you are asking America to trust you with the future, let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution?” “I will gladly lend you my copy.”
“Khizr Khan played a significant role in the outcome of the election,” said Ramakrishnan.
The UC Riverside professor laughed off the alleged influence of Shalabh ‘Shalli’ Kumar’s influence on Indian American presidential voting patterns, stating Kumar had exaggerated his claims of influencing the Hindu vote.
Kumar, a Chicago-area businessman who donated $1 million to Trump’s campaign, organized the ‘Humanity United Against Terror’ last October in Edison, New Jersey, featuring the Republican presidential candidate. He also paid for an ad, in which Trump uttered the phrase: “Ab ki Baar Trump Sarkar” (this time, it will be the Trump government), a riff on the phrase coined by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he ran for office in 2014.
“It is possible that Shalli made a difference, but there is no data to support that,” said Ramakrishnan, who led similar surveys after the 2008 and 2012 elections.
Both campaigns did fairly limited outreach to South Asian American voters, said Ramakrishnan, citing survey results. A little more than a third of South Asian participants said they had been contacted by either the Republican or Democratic party.
Third party candidates conducted very little outreach to Asian Americans, noted the survey.
Ramakrishnan told India-West that – after the 2012 general election – Republican party leaders spoke about ways to engage the Asian American community. “A Rubio/Haley ticket would have made a significant difference” in Republicans being able to engage more Asian American voters, he said, referring to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Indian American Nikki Haley, who currently serves as the United Nations Ambassador.
Democrats more effectively captured the large population of South Asian Americans who identify as Independent or Other party voters, said Ramakrishnan.
About 35 percent of Indian Americans identify as Independent or Other party voters, reported the survey.
More than a third of Indian American participants in the survey reported that they had problems with bullying. Bangladeshi and Pakistani Americans reported similar results.
Almost one-fifth of Indian Americans believed they had been subjected to discrimination at the workplace, based on their ethnicity. “All of the anti-immigrant rhetoric we’re currently seeing might be having an effect on getting hired or getting promoted,” said Ramakrishnan.
The full survey can be viewed here.