November 2008 | By Jane Leung Larson
According to preliminary reports, Barack Obama was the choice of 62% of Asian Americans, who were one of three minority groups (African American, 95%, and Hispanic, 67%) voting heavily for the Democrat this year (Whites favored McCain, 55%). McCain won 35% of the Asian American vote. (Read The National Election Poll Results)
Although Asian Americans made up only 2% of all American voters, in some critical states such as Virginia where they make up a greater part of the population, their votes can make the difference. [See Robert Gee's comments in Member News-Newsmakers this issue.] Since the 2004 presidential election, Asian Americans have moved further to the Democratic column, with 54% voting for John Kerry.
For continuously updated information on the Asian American vote, see APIA [Asian Pacific Islander American] Vote http://www.apiavote.org/ and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund https://www.aaldef.org/.
President-Elect Obama has chosen a Chinese American as executive director of his transition team, Chris Lu. Obama’s Harvard Law School classmate, Lu entered government soon after graduation and became Senator Obama’s legislative director in 2005. A bi-racial Japanese American, Pete Rouse, will be Obama’s White House senior advisor and was his former chief of staff in the Senate.
Obama has his own Asian American family ties, of course, with an Indonesian stepfather, Indonesian American half-sister and Chinese American brother-in-law.
A U.S.-China policy paper from candidate Obama was published in October by the American Chamber of Commerce in China. It gives some idea of how President-Elect Obama intends to engage China as well as strengthen American competitiveness. http://www.committee100.org/heightline/2008election/ObamaArticle.pdf