New Report Shows Overwhelming Latino Support for Conservation, Underscores Potential Impact on Mid-term Elections in Western States

Today, Latino Decisions and Hispanic Access Foundation released a new research brief — analyzing nine major public opinion polls from the last three years — that finds Latinos overwhelming support greater environmental protections, such as preserving parks and public lands, so much so that conservation issues could influence voting decisions in the mid-term elections.

“This report provides definitive proof to what we’ve seen across the country – there is a significant, growing Latino movement that is advocating for greater environmental protections of our parks and public lands and is willing to support candidates that share that same value,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “The Latino population is the fastest growing segment in the country — their engagement in conservation is critical and could have a far-reaching impact.”

Hispanic Voter Perspectives on Conservation and Environmental Issues” additional findings include:

  • When it comes to policy priorities, water and air pollution are especially important to the overwhelming majority of Latino voters.
  • Looking at Latino attitudes on a range of conservation matters, conservation is viewed as essential to a better quality of life.
  • There is ample evidence Latinos in the West and Southwest have strong ties to the region and regularly partake in outdoor activities, all of which serve to sharpen interest in conservation and clean air and water.
  • Latino voters believe individuals and governments have important roles in protecting natural resources and promoting healthy, clean communities.
  • Latinos prefer policies and candidates that actively promote a cleaner environment and preserving public lands. They are more likely to vote for candidates based on their environmental positions.

“Clean air and water, preserving public lands, climate change and promoting clean energy solutions are all matters of concern for this rapidly growing electorate,” said Dr. Adrian Pantoja, Senior Analyst for Latino Decisions and Professor of Political Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. “Decision makers and advocates with national and regional constituencies will need to demonstrate their attention to these concerns and policy preferences as the Latino population and electorate continues to grow into the foreseeable future.”

"We know that regardless of the issue, Latinos, like most Americans, will seek policy approaches that better the quality of life for them, their families, and their community" said Leo Murrieta, National Field Director of Mi Familia Vota. "From immigration reform to conservation, Latinos want candidates and elected officials who will best represent the issues they care about and will do so by promoting laws that will treat our community with dignity and respect. Ensuring that our families have access to clean air and water, cleaner environments, and preservation of outdoor recreational areas will continue to be important to Latino voters across the nation." 

Since its founding in 2010, HAF has made building environmental awareness among Latinos, going outdoors and empowering advocates one of its top priorities. During the last four years, HAF has experienced a growing number of Latino youth and community leaders clamoring for opportunities to participate in efforts for clean water, balanced energy development on public lands in the west, conservation funding, and enhanced protections for parks and monuments.

“When you recognize how many aspects of our lives are affected by the environment, it’s not surprising that Latinos are so passionate about conservation,” said Arce. “The outdoors provides a connection to their cultural heritage. Recreation, tourism and farming provide employment and financial security to many. Getting outdoors and experiencing nature benefits the physical and mental wellness of youth and adults. And unfortunately, Latinos are much more likely to suffer negative health issues due to environmental hazards,” said Arce.

The full report can be downloaded at: http://hispanicaccess.org/sites/default/files/HAF_LatinoDecisions_Resear....
 

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