Huffpo has an article on the subject of Asian American voting tendencies. It’s nothing groundbreaking as we’ve known since 2004 that Asian Americans vote Democratic in presidential campaigns. The question is why, as Asians tend to be more family oriented and a significant number of them own their own businesses. The Huffpo author pronounces immigration issues and high education as the driving force for the trend, but there’s another important component he’s missing: religiosity. According to ARIS and the US Religious Landscape survey, somewhere around 23-27% of Asians are “Nones” unaffiliated with any organized religion (Irish and Jews are other groups with significant number of Nones). Another 21-30% are affiliated with Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. Also, the surveys show that those with no religion have different political affiliations than the rest of the population. In particular, there are many more Independent Nones than Republicans, while Democrats remain the same (as of 2008).
If Asian Nones are anything like the other Nones, then they’ll be more independent and less Republican. A key fact here, however, is that the percentage of Democrats is exactly the same between the US population and Nones. Nones are more likely to be swing voters than a base either one of the parties can rely on. I don’t have specific data on it, but it’s possible that those who follow Eastern religions are also less likely to be Republican simply because of the party’s strong identification with Christianity.
The 2004 vote was an important marker. That’s the first election after Bush Jr came to office, and it’s possible that his overtly religious political agenda turned a number of otherwise sympathetic Asian voters away from the Republican party.