In the United States, simply put, the Republican Party tends to do well with non-hispanic white voters and the Democratic Party tends to do well with Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and other minorities. For example, in the 2016 Presidential Election, Trump received 58% of white votes, 8% of African American votes, 29% of Hispanic votes, and 26% of Asian American votes. That seems to point to a trend that minorities are more likely to vote for the Democratic Party. Yet in Hawaii, the Honolulu Civic Beat reports:

Trump did well in districts with lots of white people and in some cases areas with a lot of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.


The billionaire also took the tiny “forbidden island” of Niihau, which is populated mostly by Native Hawaiians. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the island’s voters went for Trump, the highest percentage in the state.

Does the Republican Party in general or Donald Trump in particular do well with the Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander vote? If this is true, what factors can explain this, in particular considering it goes against the general trend that the Democratic Party does better with any group that isn't non-Hispanic white?

  • 5
    Perhaps because not everyone forms their political opinions on the basis of their ethnic background?
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 17:31
  • @jamesqf It's not as simple as that. Ethnic background strongly correlates with culture, urbanisation rate, and class, which each in turn strongly correlate with political preferences. This applies worldwide. Correlation does not imply causation; ethnicity does not directly cause political preferences in most cases.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 20:15
  • Maybe, but is as simple as this: self interest rises above all of that. The huge majority of people are at their very core are self interested. Evidently the believe that Trump will work for their interests (relative to other options).
    – acpilot
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 15:06
  • 1
    The huge majority of people are at their very core are self interested citation needed, also there is considerable evidence to the contrary.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


It has to do with Filipinos. They support Democrats much less than other Chinese or Indian Americans, who usually support Democrats because of their social and religious background. This is despite the fact that they do more now than in the past. This may have to do with generational change and children growing up among other Asian Americans.

These make up a larger presence in % in HI than the majority Asian district in CA (CA-17) which has more Chinese and Indians among others. In CA-17 Clinton got over 3/4 of the two-party vote and in HI it was under 70%. Those are the 2 largest groups of Asians by national origin in the US. Filipinos and Vietnamese showed highest approval of GOP which is expected to translate into Trump votes.


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    Interesting, but I thought Pacific Islander referred to Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia, does it include other Pacific islands such as Philippines, Japan, Indonesia?
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 16:17
  • 4
    @gerrit No, Filipinos are not usually considered Pacific Islanders. Nor are the other groups you mentioned Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 16:32
  • Yes, and no. I tried my best. Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 16:41
  • Hawaii does have a relatively large Filipino population by the way. The most commonly spoken non English language is Tagalog, an offshoot of Spanish that is actually distantly related to Hawaiian as an Austronesian language Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 17:33
  • 7
    Tagalog is by no means an offshoot of Spanish, despite having adopted a number of Spanish words.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 18:40

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