Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dave Cortese and Vietnamese-American Voters in San Jose

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese is trying to fulfill his political ambition to become the leader of San Jose.   He lost the mayoral race to his arch enemy, the current Mayor Chuck Reed, in 2006.  

For a city with a population comprises of 1/3 Hispanic, 1/3 Asian and 1/3 White, forming a rainbow coalition is a must for anybody to win a city wide race.   Reed, in 2006, won by carrying the Asian and White votes.

Cortese was stunned at that time when most of the Vietnamese-American votes went to Reed despite his efforts to woo them.  Even though they only represent roughly 10% of the electorate,  the Vietnamese-American voters often have a much higher turn-out and this could make a difference in the primary where there are multiple candidates.  

It is no accident that for the last 8 years, Cortese has spent considerable time to build his image among the Vietnamese-American voters. 

Cortese, being a strong supporter of labor unions, will likely to carry the Hispanic votes.  His strong presence in the Chinese-American community (with the help of San Jose City Councilmember Kansen Chu and his wife) will certainly help him to win this voting bloc.   His  alliance with San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra will gain him some votes with the Indo-American community.  Of course, it does not hurt when your chief-of-staff is also Indo-American.

Without a doubt, this race is strongly followed by the community, especially when Councilmember Madison Nguyen is one of the candidates.    Nguyen barely survived a recall  and she is considered to be a polarized figure in the community.   Recently,  there was a candidate forum hosted by a network of  Vietnamese-American  organizations with over 400 people attending -

Just to see what the conventional wisdom is revealing, an ad hoc poll was conducted by our friend at Asian Poll Media and LSI would like to share the results

The question was asked -  If the primary would be held today, who would you likely to support out of the five candidates?

A field of 315 most likely Vietnamese American voters (145 women and 170 men) were asked during the third week of April.  The poll was conducted within a 4% margin of error. 

Dave Cortese - 38%
Madison Nguyen - 35%
Sam Liccardo - 9%
Rose Herrera - 6%
Pierluigi Oliverio - 1%
Undecided - 11%

This is a surprising number since Dave Cortese is not expected to win the Vietnamese-American votes, his game plan is to have enough support to prevent Nguyen to carry an overwhelming majority.  

The poll shows that the Vietnamese-American community is ambivalent about Nguyen.  It also reflects that fact that she has not actively reaching out to the community for the last 4 years.  

She has been flooding the community with a campaigning theme that reads - "Vietnamese Voters vote for Vietnamese Candidate."

This so far has its limit. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Vietnamese and truly believe in "Vietnamese should vote for Vietnamese", however, I have just little problem with Ms. Madison Nguyen did not asked Vietnamese voted for the Vietnamese, but asked Vietnamese voted for a non-Vietnamese.
(2012 D8 race-Vietnamese Jimmy Nguyen vs Rose)

Unofficial Election Results

 San Jose City Council, D7   Precincts Reporting:  100% Tam Nguyen                        31.85%       2,275  Maya Esparza             ...