Are Asians the New Latino Conundrum for the GOP?

PHOTO: Asian immigrants now outnumber Hispanic immigrants. Can the GOP afford to lose this voting bloc?

If the Republican Party wants to win elections in the future, it should consider appealing to the fastest growing racial group in the United States. No, not Latinos. Asians.

Ronald Reagan famously said that Latinos were Republicans "that didn't know it yet" because of their strong work ethic, emphasis on "family values," and adherence to religious doctrine. George W. Bush was able to capture more than 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. Yet, the GOP has seen the Hispanic vote slip away in the past two elections, contributing to Gov. Mitt Romney's huge loss last week.

But a growing group of Asian Republicans believe that Asian voters should be natural political allies for some of the very reasons that Reagan thought Hispanics would also fit in well.

Asians, like Latinos, tend to gravitate towards entrepreneurship and place great value on family relationships and individual work ethic, according to a recent study by Pew. Asians tend to be more educated and wealthier than the average population, whereas, Hispanics fall below the average on both measures.

"You would probably find very few Asian-Americans among the ranks of the '47 percent,' writes Leon Hadar, a blogger for The American Conservative.

Only problem? Asians, like Latinos, are moving more and more to the left with each coming election. The majority of Asian-Americans were Reagan and George H.W. Bush supporters. It wasn't until 2004 that they cast more votes for the Democrats, with 56 percent of Asians voting for John Kerry over George W. Bush. Last week, 73 percent of Asians voted for Barack Obama over Romney -- a higher percentage than Latinos.

Stephanie, the 24-year-old daughter of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants from New York, says Asians voting for Democrats is "counter-intuitive". After graduating from an Ivy League school, the young financial analyst says she began to realize that many of the ideals she was raised with matched up with those she saw in the Republican Party.

"It was mostly the idea of self-sufficiency and hard work," said Stephanie, who asked that we not use her last name. "It was ironic because my parents liked a small government, less taxes, and then they would vote Democratic."

Eugene Liu, the founder of Asian Conservatives, a website which hosts right-leaning Asian-American bloggers, believes the Republican Party's "challenge" is "how to deliver the message to a changing demographic of immigrant voters." Stephanie thinks that Republicans could be doing more to tailor their message to reach Asian voters.

"They may need more Asian-targeted ad campaigns that shows that their values actually align more closely to the Republican party," Stephanie said. "In different languages too."

According to an election eve poll conducted by Latino Decisions , more than half of the 800 Asian voters surveyed said they were never contacted by "a campaign, political party, or community group to register to vote or to vote." Of those Asians surveyed who were contacted, 55 percent were contacted by Democrats and 38 percent were contacted by Republicans.

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