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Nov 03, 2008 at 11:36pm IST

Republicans' loss, Democrats' gain: Indian-Americans

New York: There are over 2.5 million Indian-Americans—a community big enough to make an impact in the Presidential polls—and it is not hard to guess who they are going vote for.

Indian-Americans voted by a ratio of 2 to 1 for Democrat John Kerry over incumbent Republican President George W Bush in the 2004 Presidential polls. This year, Democrat Barack Obama could well exceed that level of support, and some Indian American Republicans acknowledge that possibility.

“Compared to 2004, this time the Indian-American community support is a bit less (for the Republican party). The reason being younger Indian-Americans are mostly with Obama. Of course, when I ask them, "Why are you supporting Obama", they say, "He looks cool," says Narendra Reddy, a McCain supporter.

According to a recent National Asian American Survey, Indian Americans chose Obama over Republican John McCain by a margin of 4 to 1. In recent elections, just about a fifth of registered Indian-Americans voters have actually turned out on election day. According to observers of the community, that low turnout trend may well change in 2008.

“I think it would be at least double the number that we've seen in the past. Again, mainly because of a large turnout of the young Indian-American community, who are greatly inspired by Obama,” says immigration affairs analyst Partha Banerjee.

If a large number of voters from the community do vote on November 4, they could well play a significant role in battleground states where they have a substantial presence - especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

While President George W Bush had a strong support and donor base among Indian Americans, McCain's support within the community is much more lukewarm. And that is likely to result in a larger percentage of Indian Americans voting for Obama.

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