India-US Ties Of Low Priority To Indian-American Voters: Research

Indian Americans view nationally-relevant issues such as US healthcare and the economy as top priority this election

Published
The Indian American
3 min read
According to research, seventy-two percent of registered Indian American voters plan to vote for Biden and 22 percent intend to vote for Trump in the 2020 November election.
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There has been speculation about Indian-Americans making an ideological shift in support of Trump due to the displayed courtship between the incumbent U.S. President and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New survey data by YouGov shows, however, that Indian Americans continue to be strongly attached to the Democratic Party, with little indication of a shift toward the Republican Party, despite narrative anecdotes of the hinting otherwise.

According to research, 72 percent of registered Indian American voters plan to vote for Biden and 22 percent intend to vote for Trump in the 2020 November election.

A signigficant finsing in the survey indicates Indian Americans view U.S.-India relations as a low priority issue in this electoral cycle, emphasising instead nationally-relevant issues such as US healthcare and the economy.

Indian Americans are one of the most rapidly growing immigrant groups in the United States, roughly doubling in size in each of the last four decades.
The Indian American voting population is heavily foreign-born and growing rapidly, with two-thirds of Indian-Americans having entered the country after 2000, according to the study.

Skewing To The Ideological Left 

In terms of political ideology, the survey shows that Indian Americans clearly skew left.

While 29 percent of Indian American citizens classify themselves as moderate, a larger share of the remaining respondents place themselves on the ideological left: 11 percent identify as extremely liberal, 23 percent identify as liberal, and 13 percent identify as slightly liberal.

India-US Ties Of Low Priority To Indian-American Voters: Research

The proportion of respondents situated on the right end of the ideological spectrum is much smaller in comparison.

Affective Polarisation

Affective polarisation is the degree of hostility that exists between individuals possessing different partisan identities or affiliations. In America, there has arguably been worrying degree of affective polarisation in society with reference to political life.

Indian-Americans are no different.

“Just like the wider voting public, Republican and Democratic Indian American voters are politically polarised and hold markedly negative views of the opposing party and divergent positions on several contentious policy issues—from immigration to law enforcement”, finds the survey.

Policy Hierarchies 

India-US Ties Of Low Priority To Indian-American Voters: Research

"Interestingly, given all the talk about how America’s ties with India might shape Indian American voting behaviour this election, U.S.-India relations rank next to last: just 3 percent of respondents rank it as their most important election issue."

It is the US economy that is of primary concern to Indian-American voters, followed by healthcare and racism in the US.

Indian Americans tend to hold policy positions that are significantly more in line with the progressive positions espoused by Democrats, finds the study.

Democrats and Republicans in the Indian American community rarely see eye-to-eye on these issues, with differences on most issues standing out like a sore thumb.

On contemporary issues like Trump's "Muslim ban", police force used against BLM protestors and the deportation of illegal immigrants by ICE, Indian-American democrats are much more strongly opposed than Republicans.

The only issue where the views of Democrats and Republicans appear to converge is affirmative action in university admissions, where both sides largely voted in support of affirmative action in higher education.

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