Record numbers of Asian Americans countywide (293,000) voted in the 2008 General Election. The number of Asian Americans casting ballots in 2008 jumped 39% from the 2000 General Election, almost double the rate of growth in the number of all voters.
APALC's get-out-the-vote campaigns in 2006 and 2008 provide first-of-its-kind evidence that Asian Americans respond to conventional voter outreach methods.
Bilingual phone calls placed before the 2008 General Election increased turnout by almost 6 percentage points among Asian American voters contacted. Similarly, phone calls placed before the June 2008 Primary Election increased turnout by 17 percentage points among voters contacted.
Here are some selected highlights from Asian Americans at the Ballot Box: The 2008 General Election in Los Angeles County:
Voter Registration and Turnout: Los Angeles CountyHere are some selected highlights of Getting Out the Asian American Vote: Achieving Double Digit Increases in Turnout During the 2006 and 2008 Elections:
Over 412,000 Asian Americans were registered to vote and 293,000 Asian Americans cast ballots in the 2008 General Election. Asian Americans made up 10% of registered voters and 9% of voters countywide. Between the 2000 and 2008 General Elections, the number of Asian American voters grew 39%. In contrast, the number of all voters countywide grew only 22% over the same period. 71% of Asian Americans registered to vote cast ballots. 75% of Asian Indian, 56% of Cambodian, 69% of Chinese, 76% of Filipino, 83% of Japanese, 67% of Korean, and 66% of Vietnamese American registered voters cast ballots.
Voter Behavior and Attitudes: Los Angeles County
63% of Asian American voters supported Barack Obama for President, including 86% of Asian Indians, 69% of Chinese, 57% of Filipinos, 60% of Koreans, and 51% of Vietnamese Americans. 90% of Asian American voters expressed support for universal healthcare, including 90% of Asian Indians, 87% of Chinese, 89% of Filipinos, 90% of Koreans, and 96% of Vietnamese Americans.
Information on Asian American voter registration and turnout was drawn from the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters Office's Los Angeles County Voter File, while information on how Asian Americans voted was drawn from the 2008 Southern California Voter Survey. The Voter Survey was an exit poll conducted on Election Day during the 2008 General Election that surveyed nearly 3,300 voters in Los Angeles County, including almost 1,000 Asian Americans.
Campaign Summary and MethodologyThe two reports, Asian Americans at the Ballot Box: The 2008 General Election in Los Angeles County and Getting Out the Asian American Vote: Achieving Double Digit Increases in Turnout During the 2006 and 2008 Elections, can be found online at the APALC website here.
APALC volunteers made bilingual phone calls to “low-propensity” Asian American voters, generally defined as individuals who are registered to vote, but have infrequent voting patterns. These calls were placed during the weeks leading up to four elections (June 2006, November 2006, June 2008, November 2008). APALC conducted its get-out-the-vote efforts as “field experiments” in which voters were divided into two groups - a treatment group that received phone calls from APALC volunteers, and a control group that received no phone calls from APALC. A statistical analysis was conducted to estimate the increase in turnout generated by the calls.
Increases in Voter Turnout Generated by Phone Calls: Los Angeles County
June 2006 Primary Election (low overall turnout): While voters not targeted by APALC for phone calls voted at a rate of 8.4%, voters successfully contacted by APALC volunteers voted at a rate of 10.9%. This represents an increase of 2.5 percentage points attributable to the calls - or a significant 30% relative gain in votes compared to voters not targeted. November 2006 General Election (moderate overall turnout): While voters not targeted by APALC voted at a rate of 27.4%, voters successfully contacted by APALC voted at a rate of 31.1%. This represents an increase of 3.7 percentage points attributable to the calls. June 2008 Primary Election (low overall turnout): Phone calls increased turnout by 4.0 percentage points among voters contacted by APALC volunteers, and reminder phone calls placed just prior to Election Day increased turnout by an additional 13.2 percentage points among contacted voters. This represents a total 17.2 point increase in turnout. In other words, voters not targeted by APALC voted at a rate of 11.2%, whereas voters contacted twice by APALC voted at a rate of 28.4% - more than double the rate of voters not targeted for phone calls. Notably, Asian American low-propensity voters contacted by APALC actually surpassed the turnout rate of all voters countywide (20.0%). November 2008 Primary Election (high overall turnout): Phone calls, coupled with reminder calls placed just prior to Election Day, increased turnout by 5.7 percentage points among voters contacted by APALC volunteers. Voters not targeted by APALC voted at a rate of 65.3%, whereas low-propensity Asian Americans contacted by APALC voted at a rate of 71.0% - the same rate as all Asian Americans countywide.