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Friday, November 30, 2012

How about Asking Them

Menzie Chinn who has access to a sample of at least one Asian American wrote some good speculation (his word)  on  why 70% Asian Americans polled in exit polls said they voted for Obama.

I commented.

Oddly the speculation on Asian Americans doesn't seem to have involved much polling.

I know of only one poll which focused on Asian Americans and so had a decent sized Asian American sample (800).  I don't have the numbers (hell I probably can't find the link -- use the google Headline "National Asian American Election Eve Poll Shows Immigration Reform & Health Care Drive Fastest-Growing Minority Group to the Polls"  Actual number

* Most important issues. The vast majority of Asian American voters (58%) said that fixing the economy and creating more jobs was the most important issue that politicians should address. Health care and education reform were each cited by 20% of Asian American voters as the most important issue, followed by civil rights/immigration issues (13%).


* Health care. 60% of Asian American voters supported the federal government's role in ensuring access to health insurance, compared to 23% who believe that people should secure their own health insurance.

Here I think the issue is that Asian Americans support a scientific approach in the abstract, but that a larger minority of them than non-Asian Americans have taken the scientific approach of finding out what the hell the Obamacare bill says.

Obamacare was a key issue in the campaign. The bill is unpopular and most provisions are popular.  There is no reason to be surprised that extremely highly educated people split for Obama.  This doesn't explain the Asian American vote, but I tend to suspect it is more important than believes about 1,000,000 BC.

The link between caring about education and obtaining a lot of it is (not quite) too obvious to note.  The link between slashing government employment and weakening the education system is obvious to anyone who has a passing knowledge of the fraction of public employess who teach (one of Romney's worse gaffes was to correctly note that "more government employment" and "more teachers, police officers and firement" are pretty much the same thing -- Republicans win by convincing the voters that the typical government employee is a  federal bureaucrat writing memos and attending meetings.

I'm going to write it right here.  I have a BA in biology and I would have voted for mr monkey trial William Jennings Bryant himself if I had been alive and over 18 at the three times.  Also I am an atheist but would vote for 99.999 % of Christians if the alternative were Ayn Rand.  

The speculation without data is especially striking in the case of Murray who just assumes that Asian Americans must agree with him on the issues he cares about, because everyone must, because it's obvious (in spite of the stubborn refusal of the data to do what he predicted).

Posner is head shoulders torso and belly button above Murray, but I suspect a bit of pundit's fallacy there too.  He sure doesn't like Republican war on science and imagines Asian Americans are all scientists (also the ivory tower -- the Asian Americans he knows include a lot of colleagues who share his aim of studying legal precedent using the tools of social science).

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