James Tso, national president of the Organization of Chinese Americans, did not say Taiwan is a communist country, as a quote in an article about the political views of immigrants in yesterday's editions stated. (Published 12/19/87)

Unlike the tide of earlier immigrants who swelled the ranks of the Democratic Party, today's newcomers are more complicated in their political preferences.

If anything, the Republican Party's tough anticommunist image may give it an advantage among today's immigrants because so many of them are political refugees who have fled leftist governments, analysts suggest.

It's something Democrats have noticed. "If there's any change in the last 20 years," said Stan Gildenhorn, former chairman of Montgomery County's Democratic Party, "Republicans have made inroads into the Hispanic and Asian communities."

"Speaking as a Democrat, I have to be honest," said Chinese-born James Tso of Arlington. "I think Republicans are doing a far, far better job. Partly it's not our fault. Vietnamese and Taiwanese come from communist countries; they are very anticommunist.

"Number two is the business issue. The {immigrants'} number one concern is economic pursuits. Republicans are good at addressing this issue of economic pursuits and not depending on government.

"Third, there is the family orientation {of Republicans}. Democrats are more individualist-oriented and concerned about constitutional rights."

"We really are at square one on all this," said Richmond-based Alan Follett, GOP outreach coordinator in Virginia. "One of the things we are excited about is . . . that there are a lot of groups that share some basic conservative concerns."

"I used to be a Democrat," said Fairfax County dentist Gopal S. Pal, who came to the United States from India 17 years ago. "Basically, most {Indians} are Democrats because of the influence of President Kennedy. He was so pro-Indian . . . and Mrs. Kennedy came to India. And {India's first prime minister Jawaharlal} Nehru was a good friend of Kennedy."

Pal said the turning point for him came when 1,600 Americans of Indian descent held a convention in 1983 in Atlantic City. "Senator {Robert} Dole (R-Kan.) was the keynote speaker. He was the only person willing to come" among politicians of both parties who were invited. "He moved a lot of people to become Republicans."

"If you work hard in this country, the sky's the limit . . . that's what the Republicans say," added Pal, now chairman of the Indian subcommitee of the Asian-Pacific Republican Assembly, a group that seeks to build GOP support among immigrants for that part of the world.

Many Filipinos also arrive here with historical sentiments for the Democratic Party because it "gave us our independence," said Prince George's Orphan's Court Judge David M. Valderrama, vice chairman of the county Democratic Party.

Valderrama, here since the 1960s, said he is a Democrat because of its support for civil rights and because "it is a collection of minorities."

African Americans, too, said Kilimanjaro night club owner Victor Kibunja, tend to favor the Democrats because of the party's civil rights support. But, he said, "once you start working and making a living, the Republicans start looking better."

As did many of his fellow Vietnamese Americans, Thang Tran, 47, an Arlington County tax auditor, voted for President Reagan in 1984. But during last year's congressional elections, Thang arranged a meeting between 30 Vietnamese community activists and Democratic county board member John G. Milliken, then running against incumbent Republican Frank R. Wolf.

"I voted Republican for president because I'm afraid of communism," said Thang, who came to this country 12 years ago. "But we should support local Democrats because they care about social problems . . . poor people . . . {and} discrimination."