Indian Americans for Biden, but Trump has also made gains: Survey


An overwhelming majority of Indian Americans will vote for Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden whose running mate is Kamala Harris, according to a voter survey, but President Donald Trump has also made a double-digit increase in support among the community.

Biden was assured 66 percent of the Indian-American votes and Trump of only 28 percent if the election was held on the day they were polled, the 2020 Asian American Voter Survey (AAVS) has found.

The survey to gauge Asian views on a number of subjects included 250 Indian Americans and breakdown of their views by community was given.

It also found that Trump’s backers have increased by 12 percent since 2016.

Hillary Clinton, who ran against him on the Democratic ticket, received 77 percent of the Indian-American votes to only 16 percent that Trump got, according to the 2016 Post-Election National Asian American Survey.

There appears to be an 11 percentage point erosion in support for the Democratic Party in the last four years.

However, Biden’s margin of 38 percent over Trump among the Indian Americans is still more than six times the margin in the national polls covering all ethnicities.

The RealClearPolitics aggregation of national polls Wednesday showed Biden having only a 5.9 percent lead, with 49 percent support compared to 43.1 percent for Trump.

Speaking at a panel discussion during the release of the report Tuesday, Niraj Antani, a Republican Ohio State Assembly member, described the increase in Trump’s support among Indian Americans to his outreach to them, his India visit and his neutrality on issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act and the ending of Kashmir’s special constitutional status.

Biden’s opposition to those issues have sort of polarized the community,” he said.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Illinois, said that Biden has to conduct “a vigorous outreach” to the Indian-American community.

But he said that Indian Americans should “absolutely not” worry about India losing support under Biden and Harris because Biden “has been a stalwart friend of India through different prime ministers.”

US-India relations transcends partisanship in the US, Krishnamoorthi said, adding: “As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I can tell you for a fact that our national security is bound up with the security of India” because of the China factor and US-India relations are going to grow closer.

The influence of Harris is not fully factored into the AAVS because her pick as the vice presidential nominee was announced only August 11, midway through the poll between July 15 and September 10.

Krishnamoorthi said Harris’s nomination is going to be “a big play” in the Indian-American community.

She should “talk a little more about her biography, talk about her Indian heritage and her roots and talk about how that informed and influenced who she is today,” he said.

According to the AAVS produced by APIAVote, AAPI Data, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, 98 percent of IndianAmericans have planned to vote in the November election.

And 58 percent said they were more enthusiastic about voting this year.

While the percentage of Indian Americans who back the Democratic Party candidate has come down, the party has solidified its base in the community.

The percentage of those who consider themselves Democrats has increased to 54, up by 8 percentage points from 46 percent in the 2016 survey.

Those who consider themselves Republican has meanwhile dropped to 16 percent from 19 percent in 2016. The number of people who consider themselves independent has also fallen from 35 percent to 24 percent in the four years.

The survey showed that 44 percent Indian-Americans had a “somewhat favorable” view of Biden and 26 percent “very favorable” view of him, with only 14 percent having a “very unfavorable” view and 6 percent “somewhat unfavorable.”

In contrast, 54 per cent of Indian Americans had a “very unfavorable” view of Trump and 8 per cent “somewhat unfavorable.”

Only 20 percent had “very favorable” views of Trump and 16 percent “somewhat unfavorable.”

Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of AAPIData, said that the high unfavorable rate for Trump “really limits his ability to make much more headway in the Indian-American population.”

The survey showed that Indian Americans were overwhelmingly liberal in their outlook, both political and social.

Indian Americans are concerned about growing inequality with 40 percent saying that it was an extremely important issue, 38 percent a very important issue and 20 percent somewhat an important issue.

Sixty-eight percent of Indian Americans said there was a lot of discrimination against Muslims in US society, 21 percent felt there was some discrimination and only 9 percent felt there was none.

Sixty percent of Indian Americans agreed strongly and 22 percent “somewhat strongly” that the government should do more to give blacks equal rights with whites, 38 percent had very favorable views of the Black Lives Matter movement, and 32 percent “somewhat favorable” views.

Thirty-eight per cent of Indian Americans considered policing reforms extremely important, 46 percent very important and 10 percent somewhat important.

On government size, 56 percent of Indian Americans backed having a bigger government, while 22 percent favored a smaller one.

Eighty-six per cent of Indian Americans were supportive of affirmative action programs that give preference in jobs and admissions to educational institutions.

There is concern over foreign interference in US elections and 43 percent of Indian-Americans worry about frequently, 23 percent somewhat frequently and 18 percent never.

The only area where there wasn’t a huge difference in perceptions of Democrats and Republicans was in dealing with the economy and jobs: 39 percent of Indian Americans said Democrats did a better job and 31 percent Republicans, while 27 percent saw no difference between the two parties.

The Asian American Survey 2020 was carried out by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, Asian American Pacific Islander Data and Asian Americans Advancing Justice surveyed members of all Asian ethnic groups around the country.