By Alexander Falco, Strategic Analyst, TargetSmart
Over the course of the last few election cycles, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters have had a significant impact on national, state and local elections. In May of 2021, TargetSmart analyzed the voting bloc’s unprecedented impact on the 2020 election, finding that the total number of ballots cast by AAPI voters increased by over 47% from the previous presidential election. And in 2022, the impressive turnout amongst this growing demographic continued to stand out.
Yesterday, I presented our findings, including new data from the 2022 election, at the Asian American Journalists Association National Convention to arm reporters with the data they need heading into next year’s general election. Here, I’m going to share highlights from that presentation with all of you.
In 2022, there were 3.6 million ballots cast by AAPI voters, accounting for 3.4% of nationwide votes, a slight .1% increase over the 2018 midterms. While this increase may seem marginal, AAPI voters were the only non-white group to see an increase over 2018 numbers. In comparison, black voters saw a decrease of 1.9%, and Hispanic or Latino voters dropped .7%. Even more impressive, AAPI first-time voters made up 6.2% of the 2022 electorate, which is almost double the number of all first-time voters at 3.5%.
Looking at the numbers, AAPI voters played an outsized role in several key battleground states that ultimately determined the balance of power in Congress and gubernatorial offices around the country. Impressive examples of this from around the country include:
TargetSmart modeling predicts that the share of AAPI voters will only increase in 2024 compared to 2022, especially in states like New York (+1.4%), Arizona (+.16%), Florida (+.32%), Georgia (+.60%), and Nevada (+.62%).
In fact, current registration amongst the AAPI demographic is outpacing the Citizen Voting Age Population by a rate of 1.28x, a key indicator of the civic engagement of this group.
Taken together, the data demonstrates that the influence of the AAPI vote continues to grow, and is doing so on a consistent basis. Far from a fluke, this is a trend that TargetSmart has been observing since 2016 and there are no signs of it stopping. Looking ahead to 2024, Democrats must continue to invest in organizations built around activating and persuading AAPI voters.