Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and international affairs and director of the Center of Leadership and Media Studies, spoke on BBC News about his views on how Asian-Americans affect the U.S. election.
Farnsworth discussed the election on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in a segment titled “U.S. Election: Could South Asians Decide Who Wins the White House?”
“Virginia is very close, reporters all over the world are interested in Virginia, because this state may decide who wins the election,” said Farnsworth. “Therefore the small factors may look very large.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2011, Asian persons make up 5.8 percent of the population in Virginia. Historically, Asian-Americans immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s and voted Republican because they were escaping communism and the Republican party was most appealing to them since they saw the Republican party as most against communism, according to the Census Bureau and the website Real Clear Politics.
“Both campaigns are trying to get their hands on every voter that they possibly can, and one of the key groups that is being fought over most intensely are Asian Americans, who are concentrated in the Northern Virginia outer-ring suburbs, specifically in Louden county,” said Farnsworth.
“There is no question that Asian-Americans are receiving more attention in this election than they ever have in past elections,” said Farnsworth. “This is a new development within this election.”
This election was very close in Virginia, so the candidates reached out to all voters in order to gain their support, even if they may not get a lot of votes from these groups.
According to Farnsworth, blacks vote democratic nine to one, leaving the Republican Party with little hope of winning their votes, but are trying to lay in-roads hoping to move that number down to seven to one.
“George Bush, in his campaign, tried to increase the number of Latinos that voted Republican, but we are not seeing this in the Romney campaign,” said Farnsworth. “Romney is focusing more on the Asian-American communities than the African-American and Latino communities. At least that’s what we see here in Virginia suggests that’s the case.”
While the boost for Asian immigrants in the 1970s was to escape communism, the boost now is due to high-tech jobs that are available here in the U.S., according to Farnsworth.
This boom has happened over the last 10 years, with Asian-Americans seeking high-tech jobs. The younger generation of Asian-Americans is not as concerned with Communism. The concern now is health care and being able to stay on their parents insurance after they graduate, according to Farnsworth.
“A good campaign leaves nothing to chance, they try and connect with as many people as they possibly can,” said Farnsworth.
With the election being as close as it is, both parties are trying to seek voters that are more likely to look at both parties, Farnsworth said, rather than being loyal to just one.
African and Latino-Americans are more likely to vote Democratic, as are women. The trend is that the White community and men will vote Republican. According to Farnsworth, the gender gap we see between the two parties is a white phenomenon, this, however, is not true about African and Latino-Americans.
Obama was re-elected last night for his second term as president of the United States. Obama won Virginia’s 13 electoral votes, with 51 percent of the votes for Obama and 40 percent for Mitt Romney.