About three-in-ten Asian- American eligible voters, including Indian Americans, have cast ballots in midterm elections since 1998, a much lower turnout rate than that of whites and blacks, according to a new report.
With an estimated nine million eligible voters in 2014, the Asian-American electorate for the November Congressional elections makes up 4% of all eligible voters, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Pew Research Centre, a Washington think tank.
By contrast, Hispanics - the largest minority group - today make up 11.3% of all eligible voters. But Asian Americans recently passed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States.
In the run-up to the 2012 president election, some analysts called the Asian-American electorate a potential swing vote, despite its relatively small size, the Pew report noted.
Among registered voters who didn't go to the polls in 2010 elections, Asian-Americans were most likely to say they were too busy to vote, the survey said.
About 37% of Asian Americans chose "Too busy, conflicting work or school schedule," as a reason for not voting, compared with about one-in-four Hispanics, whites and blacks, it said.
The six largest groups among Asian-Americans by country of origin are Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese.
Immigrants make up 74% of the Asian-American adult population.
Among eligible Asian-American voters- US citizens ages 18 or older - immigrants vote about as often as the native born at 31% each, according to the Pew analysis.
In 2010, Asian-American voter turnout was 31%. That's about the same as the turnout among Hispanics, and far below blacks (44%) and whites (49%).
Turnout lagged even though the level of education and income of the Asian-American electorate, as a whole, is higher than for whites, blacks and Hispanics, the survey noted.
Research has shown that, among all adults, people with higher levels of education and people with greater income are more likely to vote in US elections, Pew said.
This is true of Asian Americans as well, the Pew report said. Nonetheless, among the college educated, Asian American voter turnout (40%) lagged behind that of whites (64%), blacks (57%) and Hispanics (50%).
This is despite the fact that some 47% of Asian-American eligible voters in 2010 had a college education, a rate higher than for whites (31%), blacks (18%) and Hispanics (16%).
The voter turnout gap between Asian Americans and other groups narrowed among those who have not completed high school.
Pew found a similar trend among Asian Americans of higher income - their voter turnout also lagged behind whites, blacks and Hispanics.
A greater proportion of Asian-American eligible voters in 2010 had annual family incomes of $50,000 or more than did whites, blacks or Hispanics.
Among Asian Americans, those with this income level made up 62% of eligible voters and had a 35% turnout rate. Among whites, those with this income made up 54% of eligible voters and had a 55% turnout rate.