Oakland, CA- Asian Americans are a rapidly growing component of the electorate in California, yet little research has been done on their views on voting, especially on ballot initiatives.
Today, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center California (BISC California) is releasing first-of-its-kind research on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters in California, which was conducted by the BISC California earlier this year. A memo outlining the research can be found here. A PowerPoint with more in-depth findings can be found here.
The research (focus groups and statewide survey) was conducted in both English and four other languages (Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and the Hmong language). The topline findings include:
- AAPI voters in California tilt strong Democratic, but with a moderate streak.
- AAPI voters in California like ballot initiatives, but often find them confusing.
- The ballot measures focusing on English proficiency, education tax extension, and the cigarette tax enjoy strong support among AAPI voters.
- In general, AAPI voters are very susceptible to ballot initiative roll off – voting at the top of the ticket, but skipping some ballot initiatives.
- Most AAPI voters have not seen language as a barrier to voting participation, yet they value multi-lingual ballots.
- AAPI voters consider themselves environmentalists at very high levels.
- AAPI voters are incredibly diverse and while they share some common political beliefs their opinions vary by ethnicity, language spoken, age and other factors.
“This landmark research project represents the first major study of the California AAPI community’s views of ballot initiatives, which are an integral part of democracy in California,”said Cristina Uribe, California Director at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.
“Despite significant investment in ballot measures, there are still critical knowledge gaps about how people interact with ballot measures in California. The lack of deep research within key groups, such as Asian Americans, hampers efforts to engage voters and bring more people into the democratic process.”
The study is the only one of its kind to focus on California AAPI voters at such a granular level in relation to ballot measures and in their own languages. It also comes on the heels of the National Asian American Survey, which looked at AAPI voters nationwide.