Westminster Viets vote as bloc, again, in Diep’s defeat

Khai Dao received 2,715 votes, but his vote distribution was the same as Tyler Diep’s with 8,787 votes.

In 2005, Christian Collet, then a professor at UC Irvine, published a paper in the Journal of Politics in which he used sophisticated statistical analysis to find that Vietnamese-American voters in Orange County voted as a bloc when it came to Viet candidates, that Viet voters consistently prefered a Viet candidate to other ethnicities, and voted for that candidate.

In this year’s election for Westminster City Council this behavior expressed itself again. The numbers from the OC Registrar of Voters show, as detailed below, that every precinct in Westminster had the same relative degree of support for each of the three Vietnamese-American candidates.

The race was for two seats, one already held by Tyler Diep and another vacated by Tri Ta as he ran for mayor. Seven candidates were on the ballot, three were Vietnamese. In the end, two non-Vietnamese won, incumbent Diep lost, as did the two Viet challengers, Charlie Nguyen and Khai Dao.

Diep ended in third place with 8,787 votes, followed closely by Nguyen with 7,723 votes. Here’s a comparison of the number of votes received by Diep and Nguyen, down to each of precincts in Westminster. Diep is a former aide to Van Tran, while Nguyen is thought to be allied with Lan Quoc Nguyen, another close Tran associate.


Votes by Tyler Diep vs Charlie Nguyen, by precinct. All graphs are by the Bolsavik using data from OC Registrar of Voters.

Note that this is a graph of actual votes cast. What it says, on its face, is that in every single precinct in Westminster, Diep got a number (number!) of votes that’s practically identical to Nguyen.

That’s a very tight fit: Nowhere in any of the precincts was the vote gap between them more than 10%.

(For stat people: Chi-square comparison of Diep’s vote distribution, to Nguyen’s, yields Chi-square p=1, meaning an identical distribution at almost statistical certainty. Paired t test yields t=0, p=1.)

It is of course not sufficient conclusive proof of, but is strong evidence in support of the conclusion that voters in Westminster, if they decided to vote for Nguyen, would also vote for Diep, and vice-versa.

In stronger terms, this graph is consistent with the claim that Diep and Nguyen get their votes from basically the same voters. It is, in other words, consistent with the Viets vote for Viets hypothesis.

Now, some may say that this result can be explained by the two candidates’ close relation – they may both be drawing support from the same political machine.

But there was a third Vietnamese candidate, Khai Dao, who ended with 2,715 votes or 6.0%. Dao is a political newcomer who is not in anyway affiliated with the Tran organization. Because of the disparate vote levels, let’s look at the distribution of votes. That is, of all votes each candidate gets, how many percent he got in each precinct. (Adding all percents for each candidate across the precincts would result in 100%.)

Therefore, if it is true that Viets voted for Viets, we would expect a congruence of the distribution as between Diep and Dao.

And we do:

Distribution of Diep votes vs distribution of Dao votes.

Again, the lines are overlapping at near statistical certainty. (For stat people: Chi-square p=1. Paired t=-0, p=1.)

Where do these votes come from? If we look at a different percentage, the percent of votes each candidate got from a given precinct, we see that nine of the precincts gave Diep 40% or more of their votes. These nine precincts are all in the heart of Little Saigon, starting at City Hall, going east on Westminster, turning right on Bushard and spreading out on Bolsa reaching the Asian Garden Mall (Phước Lộc Thọ).

This is, again, consistent with the hypothesis that there is bloc voting by Viets for Viets.

The interesting thing about this is that it makes many Viet candidates fungible.

So, suppose Diep decided not to run, for the same reason he withdrew from the Assembly race, because there were 2 other Viets running. We would expect most Diep-Nguyen voters to switch to Nguyen-Dao, and Diep-Dao voters as well. That would give both of them enough votes to beat Carey.

In other words, if Diep had not run, there would for sure be a Viet elected to the Westminster city council. In fact, if for some reason Diep-Dao voters didn’t switch to Nguyen-Dao but to Dao and some other candidate, the sixth-place Dao would win. Bloc voting can lead to some really interesting results.

In part 2, the Bolsavik will compare Diep’s performance with non-Viet candidates, showing again that Diep drew his votes mostly from Vietnamese voters.


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14 Responses to Westminster Viets vote as bloc, again, in Diep’s defeat

  1. Kieu-Linh says:

    Fascinating. Thank you for this!

  2. Viets All the Way says:

    Viets voting for Viet candidates. No surprise here. The Viets stick together in unity!!

  3. Jung Kim says:

    All Viets should have voted for incumbent Tyler Diep only……

    We also should do a better job in reaching out to other voters in town.

    Tyler Diep is staying in the council no matter what.

  4. Jung Kim says:

    When Bolsavik should choose to run for the County Supervisor seat, I expect all Viets to support him.

    Go Viets!

  5. Jung Kim says:

    Our readers must tell friends and neighbors to vote for our Viet leaders …. in ALL elections.

    Go Tyler!

    Go Bolsavik!

    Go Viets!

  6. Jung Kim says:

    In multi viet candidate situations, we must campaign with silver bullet style and continue to encourage all Viets to vote for our Viet candidate.

    Unknown, Khai Dao has stolen 2,715 votes from our Viet incumbent … only benefiting other candidates.

    He should have not run in this cycle.

    Even our Viet voters are reluctant in voting for unknown character.

    2-DIANA CAREY 8,999
    3-TYLER DIEP 8,787
    6-KHAI DAO 2,715
    AL P. KRIPPNER 2,511

  7. Jung Kim says:

    If Dao’s Viet votes would have gone to 2 Viet candidates (Diep and Chi) conservative figure of 2,000……… results might look like this;

    Diep will win his re-election bid and leaving Chi in striking distance of becoming 3rd place.

    2-TYLER DIEP 8,787 + 1,000 = 9787
    3-DIANA CAREY 8,999
    4-CHARLIE NGUYEN MANH CHI 7,723 + 1,000 = 8723


    6- AL P. KRIPPNER 2,511

  8. Jung Kim says:

    SERGIO CONTRERAS , being first on the ballot (#1), might have received an additional 1500 to 2,000 “bonus” votes from uninformed? Westminster voters.

    In theory, if Diep Tyler was placed first on the ballot ……. he could have come in first if we didn’t have multiple Viet candidates.

  9. Jung Kim says:

    Hence if Bolsavik would run for the county seat, we can not afford to have another Viet candidate splitting our important votes.

    Go Bolsavik!

  10. Jung Kim says:

    Someone have told me that Khai Dao may have been a waiter/or cook once at my favorite Pho place…… anyway, he needs to be barred from running against our Viet leaders like Bolsavik in the future.

  11. Van Tran says:

    Tyler Diep should have dropped out so we can have a seat in Weswtminter city Council

  12. Dao Khai, Sr. says:

    Khai Dao is a disgruntled loser and a trouble maker! Why is this A Hole running for anything, except to the toilet with a bad case of Ho Chi Minh? He hasn’t done jack for the community.

  13. Jung Kim says:

    I don’t know who Khai Dao is…..

    He might have been a good waiter/cook but he should have stayed in the restaurant business.

    Dao has ALMOST spoiled this election for our Viet community.

    Fortunately, Tyler Diep is coming back soon.

  14. Jung Kim says:

    I believe Bolsavik could be the most qualified community leader/candidate for county position.

    He could serve for next 8 years and maybe Tri Ta can take over the seat later.

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