US Elections: Indian-Americans Rooting for Biden, Shows Survey

The study data found that 66% of Indian Americans currently favour Vice President Biden, 28% favour President Trump.

Published
The Indian American
4 min read
Trump and Biden are both working to appease the Indian-American voter-base of 1.8 million as the run for the next US President heats up. The electorate currently leans towards Biden, the study finds.  
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On Tuesday, 15 September, Indiaspora and AAPI Data released their joint report on Indian American voters’ attitudes in the upcoming 2020 US presidential election.

The report documents the strengthening political power of the Indian American electorate in the US due to factors such as their rapidly growing population and increased political participation.

US Elections: Indian-Americans Rooting for Biden, Shows Survey
(Source: Asian American Voter Survey)

Biden a Favourite, But Trumps Wins More Support Than 2016

The study data found that 66 percent of Indian-Americans currently favour Vice President Biden as their future president, 28 percent favour President Trump, and 6 percent are undecided.

There has, however, been a notable increase in the support for Trump among Indian-American voters at 28 percent. In the 2016 presidential election, 77 percent voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton, and only 16 percent, in comparison, voted for President Trump.

There has also arguably been a greater solidification of party alliances in the community.

According to survey data, in 2020, 54 percent of Indian Americans identified as Democrats in contrast to the 16 percent that identified as Republicans. In 2016, however, it was 46 percent of Indian American voters that identified as Democrat, and 19 percent that identified as Republican, thereby noting an increase in party alliances and affiliations.

Neeraj Antani, a Republican member of the Ohio state legislature, attributed Trump's growing popularity among the Indian-American electorate to Trump's outreach within the Indian community, travelling to India, his friendship with Prime Minister Modi, as well as his neutrality on issues like CAA and Kashmir, "as opposed to Vice President Biden's opposition on those issues".

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 found.

On healthcare and education, it was found Indian Americans favour Democrats over Republicans.

It must be noted that the survey results are based off responses of 260 Asian Indian registered voters that were questioned regardless of party affiliation.

Increase in Political Participation

Currently, there are 1.8 million Indian-Americans in the US 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 US are in a backlog to obtain their green cards, notes the report.

“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 in a press release.

“Given Senator Kamala Harris’s historic vice presidential nomination, as well as highly publicised rallies that President Trump and Prime Minister Modi held together, high turnout could make a huge difference in this election,” the statement added.

Indian-American political participation has surged from 2014 to 2018, said Seema Nanda, former CEO, Democratic National Committee. The voter turnout increased from 26% to 47% in that time frame. "That is a staggering statistic", she said, speaking of the "awakening of the Indian American community".

Nanda attributed a lot of this awakening to the "results of the 2016 election", and the Trump Administration taking seat in the Oval Office.

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, the research states

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.

“Given the Indian diaspora’s increasing political importance in the US, it’s no surprise they are being courted by both sides of the aisle,” said MR Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora. "They're even learning to pronounce our names", he joked.

Other notable factors that stood out among the survey results was the strong support for civil rights for the Black population among Indian-Americans, as well as for re-allocating police funds to social programs.

Indiaspora is a non-partisan community organisation established to transform the success of Indian-Americans into meaningful impact worldwide. AAPI Data, on the other hand, is a nationally recognised publisher of demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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