A snapshot of Asian voters in New York City on Election Day shows an overwhelming preference for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as well as high rates of first-time voters coming to the polls Tuesday, according to preliminary exit poll data from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

As part of a national exit poll project that AALDEF has conducted on Election Day since 1988, the advocacy non-profit sent surveyors to 18 polling sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens to speak to in-person voters.

In Queens, voters surveyed expressed a slightly higher preference for President Donald Trump, with 31% of voters choosing the incumbent compared to 66% for Biden. In Brooklyn, the gap was highest for Biden, with 80% of votes for him compared to 18% for Trump. In Manhattan, 72% said they voted for Biden with 25% choosing Trump.

The New York City polling data is similar to that of the national portrait—AALDEF found that 67% of their surveyed voters went for Biden in the 13 states and Washington D.C. where they had exit polling. Further analysis of the local and national exit polling data would be forthcoming, AALDEF said in a statement Wednesday.

The AP VoteCast project, which surveyed more than 110,000 voters over several days through Election Day, also found that 70% of Asian voters chose Biden.

“The locations where we are in, there's a large number of Asian American voters at certain poll sites,” said Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director at AALDEF, in a phone interview. “And those happen to be in a place like Houston, New York City, Philadelphia. We are in some of the outer suburbs like Upper Darby in Pennsylvania.”

Vattamala said this year’s polling of in-person voters was limited—with about 5,000 respondents nationally compared to 14,000 respondents during the 2016 election—for a number of reasons, including the pandemic and the expanded availability of absentee and mail-in ballots.

“We didn't know what turnout was going to be. We didn't know how many volunteers were willing to step up and be out there, engaging with voters on Election Day during this pandemic,” he said.

When asked how “Asian” was defined for the purposes of the project, Vattamala said the AALDEF exit polling project casts an enormous net, looking for voters with ethnicities ranging from south Asia to the Middle East to east and southeastern Asia. While acknowledging the sprawling range, Vattamala pointed out that most American media and polling outlets don’t identify Asian voters at all, such as the high-profile Edison Research polling which presented White, Black, Latino and “All other races” in some of its racial and ethnic voting analysis.

Similarly, “Latino” as a broad racial category has been criticized for being politically meaningless when applied to millions of Americans who have ties to very different countries, cultures and socio-economic histories across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The data from exit polling of Asian voters still reveals patterns that can help shape candidate platforms and inform voter outreach efforts. Vattamala said election after election, the top issues are consistent. "The economy and jobs, health care, education and immigration, usually are the top four across for all Asian ethnic groups,” he said.

In previous elections, AALDEF’s polling showed higher rates of Republican votes among Vietnamese voters, while south Asians had much higher rates of Democratic party registration.

English proficiency also remains a barrier to voting for some ethnic groups, with south Asians and Philippino voters tending to be higher in English proficiency and Bengali and Vietnamese voters tending to be lower in English proficiency, he said.

It’s federal law that voters can bring a translator into their voting booth if they need help with their ballots during federal elections—as long as it’s not the voter’s boss or union leader—but Vattamala said this law is frequently misunderstood and ignored.

“You can bring any person of your choice inside the voting booth to assist you,” he said, “and for Asian Americans that are limited English proficient, it is almost always their minor child or grandchild. Unfortunately a lot of poll workers don't know this, and they will remove that person. Then the voter that needed the assistance is unable to vote, and it becomes a real problem.”

Vattamala said this year’s polling also missed a crucial site in Dearborn, Michigan—home to one of the largest Arab populations in the country and a previous exit polling focus for AALDEF—because so many of the exit poll volunteers there ended up working at polls for Election Day instead, he said.

Back in New York City, the AALDEF polling showed a high rate of first-time voters, especially in Queens. There, 33% of the surveyed voters were casting their first votes, while 31% of voters in Brooklyn were voting for the first time, and 19% of Manhattan voters were voting for the first time. Nationally in the 2016 presidential election, 15% of voters said they were voting for the first time.

Other metrics include party affiliation, where more than 20% of the Asian voters said they were not registered with any political party. The high rates of non-affiliated voters—25% of Manhattan voters, 21% of Brooklyn voters, and 22% of Queens voters — showed how many Asian voters can be shut out of New York’s primary system if they aren’t registered with a party, Vattamala said.

A previous version of this story stated the New York City exit polling data as raw numbers. We've updated the story to reflect that these numbers represent percentages of voters.