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McCain Supporters Undeterred by New Polls

With some polls leaning toward the Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, Cambodian-Americans who support Republican John McCain say they remain hopeful as the race enters its final week.

"We see that Obama is leading now, but we still have hope,"said Kim Meas Koy, who lives in Minnesota. "We want the Republican Party to win the election, because their foreign policies would focus more on the Cambodian issue."

McCain, who was a pilot during the Vietnam War and is viewed as familiar with Southeast Asian politics, has found wide support among Cambodian-Americans. But with Obama leading in polls from the battleground of Virginia, McCain has to make up ground before US voters go to the polls Nov. 4.

Chourng Sophal, who lives in Virginia, told VOA Khmer that even with the numbers favoring Obama his support for McCain had not wavered.

"For me, I'll still voting for McCain, because I don't really know Obama's party," he said.

Democratic supporter Pak Channa, who heads the Angkor Association in the US, said he was voting against the Republicans, who "love war."

"Nixon had the Vietnam War, George Bush had the Gulf War, and now George W. Bush is having war gain," Pak Channa said.

For many Cambodians, though, it is McCain's war record that reassures them.

"John McCain was a pilot during the Vietnam War, and he was locked up in a Vietnamese jail during the 1970s," said Rany Lushinski, who also lives in Virginia and is a member of Cambodian-Americans for Human Rights and Democracy. "I think he can strongly understand the cruelty of the Vietnamese communist government, so it could be possible that when he wins the election he can help Cambodia."

Lushinski's views echoes those of others who feel the Republicans pay more attention to Cambodian issues, while Democratic supporters among Cambodian-Americans have said they like the Democrats' view on interior policy and dealing with an economic crisis that has swept the globe in recent weeks.