Could Asian NPP Voters Elect NPP Candidate Steve Poizner?

Update: The San Diego Union-Tribune just authored a compelling special report on NPP voters. The piece looks at the growing numbers of NPP voters, both statewide and in San Diego, and the impacts this electorate shift will have on Tuesday’s midterm and future elections.

The shifting allegiances of San Diego County’s voters

Here’s an excerpt:

“Tuesday’s midterm election arrives on unsteady electoral seas, and like sailors who have lost faith in their captains, more voters in San Diego County seem to be charting their own courses.

They’ve registered as “No Party Preference” in record numbers. 

That group is now at 30.4 percent of the electorate, larger for the first time ever than Republicans and only 5.6 percent — the closest ever — behind Democrats.

Similar trends are unfolding elsewhere in California. Statewide, no-party registration has gone from 20.2 percent in 2010 to 26.8 percent this year. Polling shows former Republican Steve Poizner, in the race for insurance commissioner, is likely to become the first “No Party Preference” candidate to win statewide office.”

San Diego, Calif.- Statewide, 42 percent of Asian voters are registered independents (NPP), the only ethnic group that has a plurality of voters being independent. And according to Pew research, their voting numbers will double by 2040.

Importantly, Asian Americans aren’t just a growing segment of the electorate, they also turnout to vote at impressive percentages.

In California, Asian Americans make up 9% of the electorate, and as of the weekend, ballots returned by Asians make up 16% of all ballots cast.

The definition of a swing vote.

Making History?

What makes this midterm election and those numbers all the more relevant, is that for the first time in California, an independent (NPP) candidate could win statewide office.

That candidate is Steve Poizner, and polls show him leading to be the next Insurance Commissioner.

NPP Candidate Steve Poizner

Poizner’s opponent is State Senator Ricardo Lara, a well-liked Progressive Democrat legislator.

Democrat Ricardo Lara

By The Numbers 

In California, Democrats make up 43% of the electorate, Independents around 27%, with Republicans now trailing third at 24%.

Asian voter registration however is significantly different. In fact, they are the only demographic group in which a plurality are registered NPP (42%).

While Poizner leads in most polls, that lead is in single digits and may not be large enough to withstand the effects of well funded Democratic Party “Get Out the Vote” efforts.

Will NPP voters turnout for the NPP candidate?

Buried in that question is the statistical reality that Asian voters are a disproportionate share of NPPs, particularly in places like Orange County.

Not surprisingly, Poizner has spent time courting the Asian vote up and down the state. Will they turn out? The fate of the first statewide NPP candidacy may very well hinge on the answer to that question.

These statistics don’t hold true for Asian voters however, who are voting at much higher rates, even amongst independents.