The U.S. census provides the other half of the picture. In 1990, there were 6.9 million Asian Americans, most of whom were Chinese and Filipino. The Japanese, Korean, and Indian populations were roughly even at around 12 percent of the Asian population each, while Vietnamese were only 8.9 percent. But those relative percentages changed drastically over the next 20 years. By 2010, the share of Japanese dropped by more than half. The share for more Republican-friendly Filipinos and Koreans fell, too, though by much less. The Democratic-leaning Chinese remained stable at around 23 percent, while the Vietnamese increased their share to 10.6 percent. But Indians (by far the most liberal and most Democratic bloc of Asian Americans) upped their share by nearly two-thirds between 1990 and 2010, so that they now make up over 19 percent of the U.S. Asian population—just about 2.8 million people.
What’s more interesting, a separate Pew study on religion shows that Asians who are evangelical Protestants or Roman Catholics lean more Republican than their coreligionists among all Americans. But as Razib Khan of Discover magazine points out, in 1990, 60 percent of Asian Americans were Christian, but two decades later, only 40 percent are. Looking at all these numbers, it’s no wonder Asian Americans went so strongly for Obama in 2012.