Last spring, Canada's Tories achieved a remarkable electoral shakeup by winning big in areas that they had historically written off as un-winnable. The Conservatives gained 18 parliamentary seats in the suburban ridings (think Congressional Districts) of Southern Ontario and the City of Toronto—which are heavily populated by South and Southeast Asian immigrants—as well as all four seats in the ridings of Brampton, whose population similarly includes a large percentage of South Asians.
Meanwhile, going into this year's presidential election, both Democrats and Republicans are behaving as though they don't much care about the Asian vote. The Atlantic's Molly Ball writes:
A large proportion of the Asian-American vote is up for grabs in the 2012 election, according to a new poll. While President Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by a wide margin -- 59 percent to 13 percent -- impressions of Romney remain largely unformed, and both Democrats and Republicans have work to do with this potentially important but often overlooked voting demographic.
The large proportion of undecided voters suggests there's room for both parties to grow with the Asian-American vote, yet those surveyed said the parties aren't doing much to engage them. Just 23 percent of those polled said they'd been contacted by the Democratic Party in the past two years, while 17 percent reported contact with the GOP. In the overall population, that number is generally between 30 and 40 percent, according to researcher David Mermin of Lake Research Partners, the Democratic polling firm that conducted the survey.
Asian American voters could very well prove to be the stealth swing vote in 2012.
In swing states such as Nevada, Florida, and Virginia, the Asian-American vote could prove decisive. The poll oversampled [Asian-American] voters in those states and found a closer race than nationally: In Nevada, it was Obama 54, Romney 29; in Florida, it was 57-29; and in Virginia, 57-20.
Republicans would do well to market their pro-business, pro-traditional values message to Asian voters. And the places to start? Nevada. Florida. Virginia.