In a 2013 demographics study, Pew Research Center identified Filipinos as the second largest Asian American group in the US, numbering more than 3.4 million.
With the US election season culminating on November 8, the political presence of Asian Americans has grown significantly, as shown by the increase in the number of registered voters and candidates for various local and state positions.
The 2016 National Asian American Survey (NAAS), a scientific and nonpartisan effort looking into the opinions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders revealed interesting points about Filipino American (FilAm) voters, a fast-rising cultural group and their thoughts about the US elections, the candidates, and key US issues.
(Note: In this article, the term "leaners" are respondents who said they are more likely to support one candidate/party over the other, but have not yet decided to fully back that candidate/party.)
1. Most Fil-Ams identify themselves as Democrats
When asked about which party they identify themselves with, most Filipino Americans said they were Democrats. A big chunk also identified themselves as neither Democrats nor Republicans.
However, the study also showed that among Fil-Ams, identification with the Republican Party appears to be increasing slightly and steadily over time. In 2008, 18% of registered Filipino Americans identified as Republican; this proportion has increased to 25% in 2016. Registered Filipino Americans are also less likely to identify as non-partisan compared now (43% in 2008 and 31% in 2012).
2. Most Fil-Ams have favorable impressions of Clinton, unfavorable impressions of Trump
When asked about favorability towards the two parties, most Fil-Ams said they have somewhat favorable to very favorable opinions of Hillary Clinton. Favorability with Trump, meanwhile, is the complete opposite, with 62% saying they hold unfavorable impressions of him.
3. In the primaries, Fil-Ams voted mostly for Clinton, but they also showed the highest support for Trump among Asian Americans
The results of the 2016 primaries and caucuses showed most Filipino Americans are solidly backing Clinton, with 45% reporting to have voted for her.
But Trump also trailed close behind at 30%, the highest level of support for Trump among Asian Americans.
4. Presidential choice: Fil-Ams solidly backing Clinton
There are slight changes when it comes to the actual 2016 elections as most Fil-Ams still said that they will be supporting Clinton.
Support for Trump is down to 25% but is still the highest percentage of Trump support among Asian American groups.
5. Stand on issues, from Obamacare to Syria
The NAAS also asked about registered Asian American voters' thoughts on key issues and policies, including the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare), banning Muslims from entering the US, and accepting refugees from war-torn Syria, among others.
According to the survey results, most Fil-Ams support the health care law; increased federal assistance for college students; stricter emission standards; and ensuring equal rights for African Americans. However, at 22%, Fil-Ams have the highest percentage of opposition among Asian American voters in giving equal rights to black Americans.
Meanwhile, most registered Fil-Am voters oppose banning Muslims from entering the US and legalizing marijuana use. The poll results also showed that 41% of Fil-Ams oppose accepting Syrian refugees, the highest percentage of opposition among Asian Americans.
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From the Rappler