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Analysis: How Exit Polling Missed the Mark on Asian Americans

In the wake of an election that astounded most Americans, there is a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Here are some especially intriguing numbers: According to the National Election Pool (NEP) exit polls sponsored by the major media outlets, 65 percent of Asian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton and 29 percent voted for the victor, Donald Trump. The figures on Latinos are identical: 65 percent and 29 percent.

The result of the National Election Pool exit poll for the Asian-American community.

If these numbers are accurate, Donald Trump had another magic trick up his sleeve beyond his astonishing triumph in the election. These numbers tell us that Trump outperformed Mitt Romney among Asian Americans and Latinos.

ate who bullied and bruised for a fight with Latinos and Asian Americans. Pertaining to Asian Americans, Trump promised to deport America's undocumented immigrants (1.45 million of whom are from Asia), disputed the constitutionality of birthright citizenship, bandied around the idea of a categorical ban on Muslim immigrants (the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 62 percent of the world's Muslims), launched a Twitter tirade against Pakistani-American Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan, signaled his willingness to enter into a trade war with China, casually intimated that South Korea and Japan might nuclearize themselves. Not to mention Trump's disparaging comments on the 50-plus percent of the electorate who have never had a President of their gender in the White House.

If these numbers seem hard to reckon, that is with good reason.

Results from two polls that interviewed early voters and registered voters who were "certain to vote" just days before Election Day tell a radically different story. According to the Asian American Election Eve poll, Asian Americans favored Clinton over Trump by a 75 percent to 19 percent margin and the Latino Election Eve poll finds that Latinos favored Clinton to Trump by a 79 percent to 18 percent margin. These numbers tell a frankly more believable story that both Asian Americans and Latinos exceeded their already high Democratic vote share in the 2012 election. (For accurate estimates of the Asian American and Latino vote share in 2012 to compare against these 2016 numbers, see here and here.)

In a year in which the credibility of poll results has been widely questioned, one might reasonably ask: Why are these numbers more believable?

Volunteers from Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) conduct exit polling in 2000.

Volunteers from Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) conducted exit polling of Asian-American voters in 2000. Courtesy Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

First, there are some long-standing reasons to question the accuracy of national exit polls when it comes to their Asian-American and Latino numbers. Chief among these is that when national exit polls sample precincts and polling locations, they do so to accurately predict the election outcome, and not to accurately predict how particular segments of the electorate vote. Warren Mitofsky, arguably the godfather of exit polling, acknowledged in a 2005 self-assessment that exit polls are "not designed to yield very reliable estimates of the characteristics of small, geographically clustered demographic groups." Groups like Asian Americans and Latinos, that is.

RELATED: Experts: Polls Can Get Latino, Asian American Vote Wrong

More importantly, there are known best-practices for getting reliable estimates of voters like Latinos and Asian Americans, and the NEP exit polls fail to follow those practices while the Asian American Election Eve and Latino Election Eve polls follow them sedulously.

 Why the Latino and Asian American vote matters 10:15

Focusing just on Asian Americans, here are three keys to doing it right. You have to know:

1. Who to ask. Samples are designed to be representative of a "target population." For the NEP exit polls, that target population is all voters. For the Asian American Election Eve poll, the target is Asian American voters.

2. How to ask. According to the American Community Survey, two-thirds of the Asian American population are foreign-born, three-quarters speak a non-English language at home, and one-third are limited English proficient (LEP). The NEP exit polls only interview respondents in English; the Asian American Election Eve poll interviewed in English, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. And research shows that interview language can make a big difference in what you learn about a population of interest.

3. What to ask. Survey responses are notoriously sensitive to how you ask questions and the order in which those questions are asked. The art of question wording and question order is especially important when interviewing a culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse group like Asian Americans — again, something that NEP exit polls are not attentive to and the Asian American Election Eve poll is.

Preliminary results of @aaldef's 2016 exit poll of 14,400 Asian American voters on 


To be fair, there are other differences between the NEP exit poll and the Asian American and Latino "eve" polls. Yet these do not fundamentally alter this fact: Surveys designed from soup to nuts to accurately gauge Asian-American and Latino votes are much likelier to achieve just that. In a year full of twists and turns, Asian Americans and Latinos in overwhelming numbers repudiated the candidacy of the election's unexpected victor, Donald Trump.




Chili’s Apologizes For Taking Meal From Black Veteran On Veterans Day

U.S. Army veteran Ernest Walker started recording video when a manager at a Chili’s restaurant in Cedar Hill, Texas, questioned his military service and took away his food. Like some other establishments around the country, Chili’s offered free meals to veterans and active military service members on Veterans Day. Walker wrote on his Facebook page that he was eating at Chili’s with his service dog, Barack, when an elderly customer wearing a Trump shirt came up to him. “He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let Blacks serve over there,” Walker wrote. 

Soon after, Walker said the restaurant’s manager approached him and said that a fellow customer said Walker was “not a real soldier because [he] had [his] hat on indoors.” He asked to see identification, and continued to question Walker. Eventually, he took his food away, even though Walker showed him his military ID and discharge paperwork.

Walker posted the video, which has been viewed more than 350,000 times, to Facebook. He wrote that the incident made him feel “grossly offended, embarrassed, dehumanized.” On Friday, protesters organized outside the Chili’s restaurant to support Walker.

Chili’s responded to critics calling for the manager to be fired on Facebook. The restaurant chain said it elevated the situation to the highest levels of the company, and “fell short” on its “goal to make every guest feel special.” The company also apologized in a prepared statement and said it was reaching out to Walker.

Walker told the Dallas Morning News that he felt the election had “changed the hearts” of people.

“I do believe that the election has changed the hearts and changed the motives of people so much so that he believed in his heart and mind after talking to the Trump supporter that I was stealing food,” Walker said.

Late Monday, Chili’s president Kelli Valade released a statement saying that the company had removed, though not fired, the manager who took away Walker’s food. The statement also said the restaurant chain had personally apologized to Walker.

UPDATE from @Chilis regarding veteran Ernest Walker. They say they immediately removed the manager seen taking food from Walker on video

Since Walker’s story made headlines, supporters created a GoFundMe page to buy dinner for the veteran. At the time of this writing, the page had surpassed its $100 goal and earned $350. Walker wrote on Facebook that he was honored someone would create a page for him, but wanted to raise money on behalf of his fellow service members.

“There are thousands of hungry Veterans that are Forgotten and Homeless,” he wrote. “So I challenge America to raise enough money to Feed A Million Soldiers.”


This story has been updated with new information about Chili’s apology to Walker and the removal of the manager who took away the veteran’s meal. The Huffington Post has also reached out to Walker for additional comment and will update this post accordingly.




Meet Kamala Harris, Who Could Become The First Woman President

Kamala Harris.

One of the many, many consequences of Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday night is that the nation will have to wait at least four more years to see a woman elected president. Hillary Clinton’s loss came as a devastating blow to many people across the country eager to see a woman take office. But among Tuesday’s winners is California’s new Democratic senator-elect, Kamala Harris, who may be the next best hope for shattering that glass ceiling. 

She’s drawn many comparisons to President Barack Obama, who famously ran for president during his first term in the Senate. Her background and her polished yet personable approach to politics embody what many think the Democratic Party should aim to look like going forward. And even before her Senate win, her name was floated for roles including California governor, Supreme Court justice and vice president.

Here are some things you should know about the woman who could very well challenge Trump in 2020.


Harris, a San Francisco Bay Area native, spent years as a prosecutor and was elected twice as San Francisco’s district attorney before she won the California attorney general race in 2010. That election placed her at the top of the most populous state’s enormous law enforcement system and gave her a platform to fight for the issues she cared about.

Among her more high-profile efforts: waging a statewide campaign to reduce school truancy, eliminating the state’s backlog of untested rape kits, successfully suing the for-profit Corinthian Colleges to the tune of $1.1 billion and negotiating a mortgage relief settlement on behalf of California homeowners (which some critics said made a nice headline but didn’t accomplish much).

She’s also emerged as one of the leading attorneys general standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. During a pen-and-pad session with reporters at the Democratic National Convention in July, she spoke at length about police killings of black men and women, arguing that states should take steps like keeping track of the data on officer-involved shootings and increasing training to reduce police bias. 

Still, she’s been criticized by activists for not doing enough to investigate police shootings and for her opposition to statewide regulations on body cameras for police.


Harris has run multiple races on the back of what she describes as her “smart on crime” approach to criminal justice. That approach is largely focused on keeping low-level offenders out of jail. As state attorney general, she has openly addressed the failures of the war on drugs and pointed to the importance of early childhood education in keeping kids out of trouble. In 2013, she launched an initiative to reduce recidivism via partnerships between the state’s Justice Department and local officials.

However, reform advocates have said Harris’ tenure as California’s top cop was too cautious, pointing out that many of the state’s strides over the last years toward reducing the prison population ― including the state’s prison realignment ― happened in the state legislature or via ballot initiative. She’s also been criticized for not taking a strong stand on prosecutorial misconduct, including her lukewarm response to a jailhouse informant scandal in Orange County.


The celebration of Kamala Harris’ win in California’s Senate race was overshadowed by concerns over Donald Trump’s presidential victory.


Harris refused to enforce California’s Proposition 8, a voter-passed initiative in 2008 that banned same-sex marriage in the state, and in 2011 she pressed a federal appeals court to allow weddings to continue as the court considered the constitutionality of the ban.

“I declined to defend Proposition 8 because it violates the Constitution,” Harris said in 2013, when the case against Prop. 8 made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which set a process in motion that eventually ended the ban. “The time has come for this right to be afforded to every citizen.” 

She’s remained a champion of gay rights, and in 2015 she specifically called out Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for dismissing California as different from the rest of the country in his dissent of the court’s decision that legalized same-sex marriages nationwide.

Don’t hate the playa; hate the game,” she said. “Justice Scalia has caused many people to question the dignity of the court when he makes statements such as the statements he’s made in connection with this case. And that’s unfortunate.”


Harris is just the second black woman ever elected to the upper chamber. The first, Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), was elected in 1992 and served one term. She’s also the first Indian-American ever elected to the Senate. (Harris’ mother immigrated to the U.S. from India.)

Breaking down these kind of barriers is nothing new to Harris. She was the first woman, the first African-American and the first Indian-American to become California’s top cop.

“My mother had a saying ― ‘you may be the first to do many things, make sure you aren’t the last,’” Harris told CQ Roll Call in June. “We need to work to ensure the leaders reflect the people they are supposed to represent, and until we achieve that full representation, I think we should understand we are falling short of the ideals of this country.”


Chiefly, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who are on track to leave office with very strong approval ratings and who endorsed Harris over U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a fellow Democrat, in this Senate race. Obama is a longtime ally of Harris ― he also endorsed her in her first bid for attorney general in 2010. (He also praised her as the nation’s “best-looking” attorney general, a statement he later had to apologize for.) 

She also has support from a deep bench of prominent and popular Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (whom she’ll replace), New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, California Gov. Jerry Brown, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and many House members. 

These alliances could help boost Harris’ profile across the country should she choose to run for president in 2020.  


Harris’ Tuesday night victory party was overshadowed by Trump’s victory, giving what would typically be a jubilant event a rather somber tone. She took the opportunity to make a full-throated case against embracing the racist, xenophobic values espoused by Trump throughout his campaign, urging her supporters to continue to fight inequality. 

“It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant,” Harris said. “Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.”




Donald Trump's victory sparked protests across the country

Image result for protests against donald trump

Donald Trump's victory on election night sent people across the country out onto the streets in protest.

"Not our president! Not our president!" demonstrators in Berkeley, California, shouted.

Anti-Trump marches sprung up in several California cities after the election results rolled in. There were some reports of vandalism and at least one serious injury in Oakland.

Students in several California schools also organized mass walkouts Wednesday to protest Trump's victory. An official for Berkeley's school districts told the Los Angeles Times, "It's not the first time we've had a walkout. We know what to expect. We know what we need to do ... Our primary concern is to make sure they are safe during the school day."

Protesters in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, also blocked off several streets in protest. One activist told KING, "We are making noise. We are telling Donald Trump that we don't like that he's here. I feel like we're doomed. This can't be real."

In Washington, D.C., people for and against Trump crowded around the gates of the White House to demonstrate.

And demonstrators gathered outside of Trump Tower in Chicago for an "emergency protest" against the president-elect.

One protester told Newsy, "I just want people to be aware that the fight's not over just because we have someone like Donald Trump in office."



Gingrich, Giuliani, Priebus eyed for top jobs in Trump White House

Donald Trump's cabinet-in-waiting is taking shape in the final days of the race, as aides eye a number of Trump loyalists for major posts should he win on Tuesday.

Among the names being considered, according to conversations with three campaign advisers who requested anonymity to speak freely: Rudy Giuliani for attorney general, Newt Gingrich for secretary of state, retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn for defense secretary or national security adviser, Trump finance chairman Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, and Republican National Committee finance chair Lew Eisenberg for commerce secretary.

Trump himself has not taken an active part in transition efforts, in part out of superstition: He fears too much planning before a victory might jinx the campaign. In 2012, he was shocked to read detailed stories on Mitt Romney's preparations for the White House long before election day.

Trump himself has not taken an active part in transition efforts, in part out of superstition: He fears too much planning before a victory might jinx the campaign. In 2012, he was shocked to read detailed stories on Mitt Romney's preparations for the White House long before election day.

Campaign insiders say they're focused on winning first and foremost as well and no decisions have been made or positions finalized. But transition talks are taking on greater intensity in recent days as Trump's polling position improved. Some loyalists are playing coy about their desire for a particular job, while others are whispering their names hoping to gain traction.

"It's become a lot more real," one adviser said.

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a loyal supporter, has taken a major role managing the transition effort, especially as the official transition chief, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has drifted from the campaign. It's not clear Christie is being considered for a significant role in a potential administration either.

If Priebus leaves the RNC, two close Trump allies could be considered to take his position. Trump's team is talking about former campaign manager and current CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski or current deputy campaign manager David Bossie as possible options.

While Priebus is an olive branch to the establishment, Lewandowski, who had a tumultuous relationship with the RNC while campaign manager, would send a message that Trump won't forget his base.

"Washington still doesn't get it," another senior aide said. "You have to understand the party will never be the same."





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