With polls closed across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Latino Decisions can release the results of our 2013 Virginia Election Eve Survey of Latino and Asian American voters, commissioned by America’s Voice and the People For the American Way. The poll finds a staggering margin of victory for Democrats within these two rapidly growing segments of the American electorate.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe out paced his GOP opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, by a staggering 37-point margin. Latino Decisions estimates McAuliffe received 66% of the Latino vote, compared with 29% for Ken Cuccinelli. Among Asian Americans, McAuliffe’s margin was 29 percentage points.
We estimate that Asian American voters gave the Democrat 63% of their vote, compared with 34% for the GOP nominee. McAuliffe’s performance among Latinos was even better than President Obama’s vote share (as estimated by exit polls) in 2008 (65%) and 2012 (64%). By contrast, Ken Cuccinelli underperformed both John McCain (34%) and Mitt Romney (33%) in the state.
Attorney General’s Race
In the race to succeed Cuccinelli as Attorney General, the Democratic margin was even greater. Latino Decisions estimates that Mark Herring, the Democratic nominee, out polled Mark Obenshain among Latinos by an even more impressive 40-point margin. We estimate Herring with 69% of the Latino vote, compared with Obenshain’s 29%.
Among Asian Americans, the margin was 24 percentage points. Latino Decisions estimates that Mark Herring received 61% of the Asian American vote while Obenshain received 37%. The importance of the minority vote is even greater in this race, widely seen as more hotly contested than that for Governor.
House of Delegates
And how about in the races for the Virginia House? Latino Decisions estimates that Democrats out-polled Republicans among Latinos 65% to 32%, a 33-point margin, while among Asian Americans, Democrats led 58% to 42% for the GOP.
The Importance of Immigration
Voters from both immigrant-rich ethnic communities indicated the importance of immigration to their vote choices. A majority of Latino voters—53%–indicated that immigration was one of the, if not the, most important issue in determining their vote. Perhaps more surprising, among Asian American voters, 46% identified immigration as one of the issues most driving their voting decisions. Only 18% of Latinos and 24% of Asian Americans said immigration did not affect their vote.
A Note about Asian American Voters
In 1992, when McAuliffe’s mentor Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency, he received only 31% of the Asian American vote nationally. Last year, Barack Obama received 73% of the Asian vote nationally and 66% in Virginia. This shift of Asian American voters from super-majority Republican to super-majority Democratic, in just one generation, is reflected again in tonight’s vote.
About the Poll/Methodology
Latino Decisions interviewed 400 Latino voters and 400 Asian American voters participating in the Virginia 2013 general election. Voters were contacted by landline and cell phone between November 1- November 4. Latino respondents had the option to take the survey in English or Spanish and Asian American respondents had the option to take the survey in English, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, at their choosing. Initial sampling was based on Latinos and Asian Americans who had voted in the 2009 election, or newer registrants who voted in both the 2010 and 2012 general elections. To take the survey, respondents were asked if they had already voted early or by absentee ballot, or if not, if they were certain to vote in the Nov 5 election. Each ethnic group sample carries a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
Gary Segura is co-founder and principal of Latino Decisions. He is a Professor of American Politics at Stanford University, where he is also Chair of Chicana/o Studies, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.