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The South Asian Vote Will Be Pivotal for the 2016 Presidential Elections

Date: Nov 03, 2015
The South Asian Vote Will Be Pivotal for the 2016 Presidential Elections

New York, New York – November 3, 2015 -Emerging Networks LLC; America’s largest South Asian Television Rep Firm announced today that South Asian Americans -the fastest-growing ethnic group with unsurpassed education and affluence- have become a powerful segment of the American electorate, and a potential game changer during the Presidential 2016 election based on recently released data about civic engagement and voter participation.

There are more than 4 million South Asian Americans currently living in the U.S., and approximately 67% (2.7 million) of them are U.S. citizens. Over 80% of the South Asian-American population is comprised by Asian Indians, with a median house income of $100,547, almost double the national average $51,000. It is also reported that 70% of Asian Indian Americans age 25 and older had college degrees, 2.5 times of the rate among the general U.S. population (28%).

Political surveys from recent years show that South Asian Americans are one of the most active ethnic blocs in civic participation. During 2012 presidential election, the turn out rate among registered Asian Indian voters was 88%, compared to 58.2% among all eligible voters nationwide. The 2015 Civic Engagement report from South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI) says, “South Asian Americans are anxious about government officials-regardless of race or ethnicity-to effectively engage with and show more accountability to the South Asian community.” Recent studies indicate that high levels of education and income significantly affect South Asian Americans to engage in civic activities including voting. For example, in the 2012 presidential election, among U.S. citizens aged 25 to 44, 73% of those who had a bachelor’s degree or higher voted, 1.7 times of the voting rate of high school graduates in the same age group (42%). Another survey shows that in the same presidential election, 77% of households earning more than $75,000 voted; compared to 62% of households earning less than $50,000.

Meanwhile, the rise of South Asian American politicians running for public office is also a prominent driver for South Asian American engagement in political campaigns. Some of the most influential politicians include Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana and Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York, and Neel Kashkari, former Treasury Department official and current GOP candidate for California governor. This year, Ravi Patel, president of Hawkeye Hotels, announced his running for Congress in Iowa’s 1st congressional District, and ignited more support from South Asian American communities to engage in political campaigns. Another factor that influences South Asian American’s political participation is the strong tradition of civic engagement in South Asian countries like India, especially nowadays when over three-quarters of the South Asian American population in the U.S. is foreign-born.

Simmons National Consumer Survey also indicates that South Asians are 69% more likely to make political contributions and 77% more likely to contribute $200 or more.

Voter Registration data confirms that South Asians are more likely to be registered as Independents; making them more open-minded targets for political messaging.

However, despite their affluence and civic involvement propensity, South Asian American voters have been largely overlooked by American political campaigns. According to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote’s 2014 Survey, only 10% Asian Indian voters were significantly contacted regarding the 2012 Presidential election, and as many as 57% of them were not contacted at all. Therefore, it is critical for both political parties to focus on South Asian American voters during their 2016 campaigns, and to seize and leverage this dynamic political force to win.

Tom Marsillo
Emerging Networks LLC
(732) 219-9268