asian americans lean left, apparently

I have to admit, I was a little surprised to read this. According to Gallup Daily tracking data, Asian Americans tend to be more liberal/Democratic and much less conservative than the general population in their political views: Asian-Americans Lean Left Politically.

The findings are based on aggregated data from Gallup's 2009 Daily tracking survey, including interviews with more than 4,000 Asian Americans. For the purpose of analysis, respondents are categorized as Asian Americans if they self-identify their race as Asian. Some interesting findings:
Overall, 41% of Asians identify politically as Democrats, 41% as independents, and 16% as Republicans. As a result, Asians are above the national average in terms of the percentage of political independents (37% nationwide) and Democrats (34%), and below average in terms of the percentage of Republicans (27%).

One can compare the political leanings of Asians with those of the other major racial and ethnic groups by looking at the percentage of each group that identifies as Democrats or leans Democratic (after initially identifying as independents) versus the percentage that identifies or leans Republican. On this basis, Asians are not as Democratic as blacks, somewhat more Democratic than Hispanics, and much more Democratic than whites.

Asians are distinct from the other racial and ethnic groups in their ideological orientation. Asians are the most likely to identify themselves as politically liberal and, in fact, are the only group that has a higher proportion of liberals than conservatives. Also, Asians are proportionately more likely than the other groups to be moderates.

Generally speaking, Americans who are less religious tend to be more Democratic and more liberal than Americans who are more religious, and Asians seem to follow this pattern. Comparatively, Asian-Americans tend to be less religious than those in other racial or ethnic groups. For example, just over half of Asians say religion is an important part of their daily lives, significantly lower than the percentage of whites, blacks, or Hispanics who say this.

The percentage of Asians who attend church on a weekly basis also is lower than for other U.S. racial or ethnic groups. A slim majority of Asian-Americans say they seldom or never attend religious services.

The religion-politics link is one possible explanation for Asians' more left-leaning political views. Another is the fact that the proportion of Asian-Americans tends to be higher in traditionally Democratic states, such as Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
So there you have it. According to Gallup, the larger group of Asian Americans -- or at least, a sample of 4,625 Asian Americans -- generally tend to be more Democratic and more liberal than average Americans.

Like I said, these findings are a bit surprising to me. I'm willing to bet that if you disaggregated the data by age, ethnic group or region, you'd probably see a different picture. Definitely something to think about. To read more about the survey's methods and findings, including some helpful colored bar graphs, go here.

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