More Asians Immigrate to the U.S. Than Hispanics

Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images

The big demographic discussion of the 2012 elections might be about how the parties can court America's growing Hispanic population, but in future presidential races, the conversation might center around the Asian vote. According to new research from the Pew Research Center, people from Asian countries now make up the largest group of immigrants to the Unites States, surpassing what had previously been the group with the biggest influx, Hispanics. In 2010, there were 430,000 Asian immigrants, versus 370,000 (or 36 percent of all immigrants versus 31).

So what will that mean in future elections? Probably good things for the Democrats, at least if trends stay as they have. A full half of the Asian immigrants surveyed reported that they vote Democratic, versus just 28 percent willing to ride for the GOP, and the group was more supportive of President Obama in particular than the general population is. Still, it'll take a few election cycles before any shift really sinks in — for now, Asian-Americans are just 5.8 percent of the general population, compared with more than 16 percent for Hispanics. Marco Rubio's place in the veepstakes discussion, in other words, isn't going anywhere.