Bloomberg has the scoop:
Romney won among all voters making more than $100,000 a year by a margin of 54-44. Asian-Americans happen to be the highest-earning group in the U.S., out-earning whites, and they generally place enormous emphasis on family. A perfect fit for Republicans, no?
No. Asians voted for Obama by 73-26; they were more Democratic than Hispanics.Sounds familiar! How, then, do we explain it? Here's how Bloomberg does:
The GOP is overwhelmingly white and insistently, at times militantly, Christian. Democrats, by contrast, are multiracial with a laissez faire attitude toward religion and spirituality. If you were a black-haired Buddhist from Taipei or a brown-skinned Hindu from Bangalore, which party would instinctively seem more comfortable?I, black-haired, white-skinned, and third-or-fourth generation American, hear that. But I think there's more to it. Which candidate represented meritocracy? Romney and his side talked the talk, whereas Obama & Co walk the walk. So there was the Obama talking about helping the unfortunate - the not-so-bootstrap words. But there was also the Obama existing as a living example of ascent via education. That's a narrative that'll resonate more than, say, what Romney had to offer by way of noblesse-oblige. And for the record (the vaunted WWPD record, whatever that is), no, not all Asian-Americans are meritocratic Amy Chuas. But the question here is really about why high-earning Asian-Americans voted as they did.
And this isn't even particularly about the fact that Obama looks ethnically ambiguous (or unambiguously non-white, depending who's asking), whereas Romney is probably the whitest-looking person since Ward Cleaver, spray-tan notwithstanding. It's not not about race, but it's more that the Obama narrative will seem familiar if aspirational, whereas the Romney one, not so much. Meanwhile, obviously most who voted for Romney can't identify with having a car elevator. But they maybe can identify with ending up in life more or less where their parents did.