You are here:

Desis and minorities in US favour Obama over Romney

New York: The trends that helped Barack Obama get to the White House four years ago still favour his re-election. He enjoys a wide lead over Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, among Millennials and minorities.

In fact, 85 percent of Indian Americans support Obama, according to a Lake Research Partners and APIAVote survey. The survey says Obama’s standing in the Indian American community is higher than the 73 percent favorability rating he enjoys in the overall Asian community, though many are less enthused about his job performance — particularly with regard to the economy. The survey says 68 percent of Chinese Americans are largely Democratic, while Obama has a lead among Japanese, Filipino and Korean voters.

Obama still rocks the Indian-American vote. AFP

Some political pundits say Asian Americans dominated by a large number of Indian and Chinese people "are the quintessential swing vote.” They are attracting the attention of both Republicans and Democrats in part because of their perceived tendency to register in high numbers and actually vote on Election Day. Unlike black and Latino voters, the 2.3 million Indians in America don't have a long history with either party but Indian professionals moved toward the Democrats in the 2008 elections.

Mira Kamdar, a fellow at the World Policy Institute, and author of Planet India, says that with growing numbers, clout and self-confidence, the Indian American community was coming into its own as a political force. She said they enjoyed “disproportionate influence” in getting their voice heard as Indian Americans were significant donors to campaign war chests.

There are big Indian communities living in New Jersey, New York, California and Texas, and their average yearly household income is more than $60,000 — 35 percent higher than the nation overall. They are likely to support Obama more generously through fund-raising events. Four years ago, Obama also got celebrity endorsements from Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Suketu Mehta, Manil Suri, Mira Nair, Madhur Jaffrey and actress Sarita Choudhury.

However, weak US growth and high unemployment are likely to create a formidable headwind for President Obama, who entered office during the darkest days of the 2007-09 recession.

“After the disappointments of the last four years, it’s unlikely that Obama will match his ’08 margins with these demographics. But to win, he has to do well enough among millennials and minorities to compensate for his weakness among white, working-class voters, who were once the core of the Democratic base and now are the GOP’s (Republican Party) bread and butter,” said The Daily Beast.

The US magazine said that “the flip side of this argument” is that Romney needs to do really well among working-class whites, carrying them by as much as 25 points over Obama to compensate for the Republican Party’s weakness among minorities.

Some Americans fear that Obama is setting up the US economy for one of the biggest tax increases in history in 2013 by limiting deductions for those earning more than $2,00,000, limiting tax breaks for oil and gas companies, and a tax increase on carried interest earned by private equity firms. Come January 2013, there will be an expiration of tax credits, 100 percent expensing provisions and payroll tax breaks in Obama's jobs program which would mean a tax hit of $240 billion on small business and workers.