Growing Asian-American Population in Va. Could Impact Election

October 26, 2008

Asian-Americans are a growing, and increasingly vocal, segment of the pool of potential voters in Virginia.

Loc Pfeiffer, who came here from Vietnam when he was 6, says Asians don't like being adversarial. But the more they're raised here, the less likely they are to be passive. And assertive Asian American voters could have an impact this year in Virginia, where polls show the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain is close.

Both campaigns have national Asian outreach efforts. In Virginia, Obama's campaign is focusing on sending language-specific volunteers to register voters from particular countries. The McCain campaign's priority is securing the support of community leaders from the Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and Filipino communities.

The state's Asian population has grown from 3.7 percent in 2000 to 4.8 percent in 2006, which is above the national average of 4.4 percent.

The Obama and McCain campaigns estimate there are about 300,000 voting-age Asians in Virginia, and about 100,000 registered Asian voters.

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