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Indian Americans set to play a key role in elections 2020

Posted on October 28, 2020
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Indian Americans US elections

There is no denying the fact that Indian Americans are an influential factor on how the Democrat and Republican parties will fare in the General Elections.

What are the reasons for the Indian American community to assume significance in this election? Here are some facts to support this:

  • Indian Americans are among the rapidly growing immigrant groups in the United States. The size of the Indian American population was 4.16 million in 2018, of this 2.62 million were U.S. citizens.
  • The number of Indian Americans eligible to vote in these elections stands at 1.3 million.
  • The number of Indian Americans in the five key battle ground states are:
    • Arizona (66,000
    • Florida (193,000)
    • Georgia (150,000)
    • North Carolina (110,000)
    • Texas (475,000)
  • Indian Americans are among the most highly educated groups in the US with 75% having a Bachelor’s degree compared to the national average of 33 percent.
  • The average income of Indian Americans stands at 120,000 dollars in comparison to the national average of 62,000 dollars.

Indian Americans

While the elections are being fought in the midst of the global pandemic, another unique feature of this election is how both the Democrat and Republican parties are both paying more attention to the Indian American voter than ever before.

While the Republicans released a separate manifesto targeting Indian Americans and have even fielded a vice presidential candidate with Indian roots in Kamala Harris, the Democrat party’s campaign has constantly reminded the community of the close bond between Trump and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pre-election surveys of Indian Americans on whom they are likely to vote for in these elections has brought out contradictory results.

A survey by AAPI Data, who publish research studies on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, revealed that 54% of Asian Americans are in favor of Biden, the Republican candidate while 30% favor Trump while 15% are still undecided on whom to vote for.

The survey by AAPI has revealed that Trump’s popularity among Indian American voters has increased to 28% in 2020 from 16% in 2016. It also reveals that 66% of the Indian American voters are in favor of Biden.

Another survey titled the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Johns Hopkins University in partnership with the research and analytics firm YouGov says that Indian Americans will continue the trend of voting for Republicans with only a small percentage likely to shift their loyalty towards democrats. The survey was conducted in September, and asserts that Indian Americans perceive the US-India relations as low priority in these elections and are more interested in issues such as healthcare and the economy.

The survey states that in the last few election cycles, Indian Americans have been favorable towards democrats. This includes the Pew Research Center’s 2012 Asian-American Survey, and the National Asian American Survey (NAAS) conducted in 2008, 2012, and 2016 which indicate the pro-democratic leanings of Indian Americans.

Change of stance in the current elections

The Indian Americans in places such as Edison which has the highest concentration of Indian Americans are pro-republican.. This is  a township in Newark, New Jersey has a large number of Indian migrants especially those belonging to Gujarat. It became famous for its mention in a column in Time magazine by Joel Stein and for being the only ethnic group to organize an election rally for Donald Trump.

Places such as Edison have assumed significance in the emerging trend of 2020 where Indian Americans are expected to make a significant shift towards the Republican party due to two major reasons, the close bond between Trump and Modi which has had a positive impact on Indo-US relations and its less interference in India’s internal matters.

This is in contrast to the Democratic party’s criticism of the Indian government and the policies of Modi which has led to a drop in support by Indian Americans.

Increasing importance of Indian Americans

Indian Americans and their influence are significant in these elections. This indicates their influential role in American politics, Being the wealthiest community in terms of median income, they are now keen to play a key role in the country’s politics and have a say in causes close to them such as increase in the number of work visas. Their economic clout cannot be undermined and the political parties are wooing Indian Americans for this very reason.

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