Clinton ramps up outreach to Asian voters

Mrs Clinton taking a wefie with supporters during a rally at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month. She is out to court minorities who are critical to her chances of winning in the Nov 8 election.
Mrs Clinton taking a wefie with supporters during a rally at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month. She is out to court minorities who are critical to her chances of winning in the Nov 8 election.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is making an effort to win over Asian American voters in three states where it believes the small but rapidly growing group could make the difference in her race against Republican Donald Trump.

The push in closely fought Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania follows a broader national effort by her campaign to court minorities who are critical to her chances of winning the White House in the Nov 8 election.

Asians make up less than 3.5 per cent of the US population, but are the fastest-growing racial group in the country, according to the US Census, due largely to net migration, making them more important than ever in an election.

She "understands the importance of the AAPI community and has launched a programme that reflects that", said Mr Jason Tengco, the Clinton campaign's outreach director for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

The three states were targeted because Asian voters could swing the outcome in the tight races between Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton there.

The effort will include print, digital and broadcast advertising in a handful of Asian languages and more coordination among volunteer groups representing ethnic communities within the AAPI group, according to the campaign.

Asians make up less than 3.5 per cent of the US population, but are the fastest-growing racial group in the country, according to the US Census, due largely to net migration, making them more important than ever in an election.

Among the recent hires for the effort was Mr Philip Kim, a Los Angeles native who previously worked with Senator Tim Kaine, Mrs Clinton's running mate, as outreach director for AAPI voters in Nevada. The campaign did not say how much the three-state push would cost.

While small, the Asian population could eclipse the margin of victory in each of the states Mrs Clinton is targeting. Asians make up some 2.1 per cent of eligible voters in Pennsylvania, 5 per cent in Virginia and 9 per cent in Nevada, according to APIAVote, a non-partisan group.

Polling from Reuters/Ipsos shows Mrs Clinton with a mere 1-point lead over Mr Trump in Pennsylvania, a 6-point lead in Virginia, and a 2-point lead in Nevada.

Asian American voters have tended to lean towards the Democrat party in the past, but they register to vote much less frequently than whites and blacks.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2016, with the headline 'Clinton ramps up outreach to Asian voters'. Print Edition | Subscribe