Hispanic voters are more concerned this year about issues that affect all Americans -- such as education, the economy, health care and the war against terrorism -- than about immigration, according to a new comprehensive survey of Latino
registered voters. As has long been the case, these voters are much more concerned about education than the general public, and they are most likely to say education will be extremely important in their vote for president this year, according to the survey released today by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
On the immigration issue, the survey reveals that more than eight in 10 registered Hispanics favor Democratic plans for resolving the status of unauthorized immigrants, more than the just over half who favor President Bush’s proposal for a temporary worker program. In addition, a majority of Latino voters say that government should provide health insurance for Americans without it and that they are willing to pay higher taxes or higher insurance premiums to increase the number of Americans who have health insurance. Most Hispanics are troubled about the conduct of the war in Iraq.
Hispanics, the biggest minority group in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are a significant pool of voters in states such as New Mexico and Florida that will be battlegrounds for the presidential election. Both parties are actively courting Hispanics as an important voting bloc in the upcoming presidential election.
“The 2004 National Survey of Latinos: Politics and Civic Participation,” conducted by telephone from April 21, 2004 to June 9, 2004 among a nationally representative sample of 2,288 Latino respondents, including 1,166 registered voters, examines the views of Latino registered voters on a range of issues and concerns that are subject of debate in the current political campaign.
“Given the tremendous growth of the Latino population, candidates, political organizations and the news media are paying greater attention to Latino voters in 2004 than in any previous election year,” said Roberto Suro, Director of the Pew Hispanic Center. “Although this is a diverse collection of voters not easily labeled, substantial majorities of Hispanic voters hold strong views on health care and immigration and while more divided over the war in Iraq, many are critical of
the way President Bush is handling the conflict.”
The survey also looks at the differences in characteristics, attitudes and civic participation among three groups of Latinos -- Latino registered voters, those who are eligible to vote but have not registered and those Latinos who are not U.S. citizens. The report also explores Hispanic views on a question that has risen to prominence each time the United States has experienced a substantial influx of immigrants: Is there a single American culture?
This is the third such collaboration. The first National Survey of Latinos in 2002 also examined political views as well as a range of attitudes regarding ethnic identity and the assimilation process. The second, conducted in 2003, focused on education.
“The issues that Latino voters care about mirror those of concern for all registered voters, with the economy and health care high on their lists,” said Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D.,Vice President and Director of Public Opinion and Media Research at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Education is the one area that Latinos are even more likely than other voters to deem critical to their vote this fall.”
A separate survey conducted July 12-20, 2004 among 786 registered Latinos shows that at this point Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry leads President Bush by 62% to 32% in a two-way race.
Here is a sample of the results from the main Kaiser-Pew poll:
Registered Latinos are most likely to identify themselves as Democrats. However, a sizable minority does not affiliate themselves with either party. The Democrats two-to-one advantage over the Republicans in party identification has not changed significantly since the 2000 presidential election. Latinos of Cuban origins, as has long been the case, are more likely than other Latinos to say they are Republican.
Nearly half (45%) of registered Latinos consider themselves Democrats. Two in 10 (20%) say that they are Republicans. Another two in 10 (21%) say they are Independents, 8% say that they are “something else,” and 5% say that they do not know their party affiliation.
Surveys similar in scope and methodology to this one found virtually identical breakdowns in party identification in 1999 and 2002.
Registered voters who trace their origins to Cuba make up 6% of the Latino electorate.
More than half (52%) say they are Republicans. Less than two in 10 (17%) say they are Democrats, and 9% say they are independents.
Registered voters of Mexican origins make up 60% of the Latino electorate. Nearly half (47%) say they are Democrats, while 18% identify as Republicans and 22% say they are independents.
Registered voters of Puerto Rican origins account for 15% of the Latino electorate. Half (50%) are Democrats while 17% are Republicans and 15% are independents.
Only half as many Hispanics (27%) said that immigration would be extremely important in determining their vote as cited education (54%).
Percent of registered Latinos who say each will be extremely important in their vote for president this year:
o Education (54%)
o The economy and jobs (51%)
o Health care and Medicare (51%)
o U.S. campaign against terrorism (45%)
o The war in Iraq (40%)
o Crime (40%)
o Social Security (39%)
o Moral Values (36%)
o Taxes (33%)
o The federal budget deficit (30%)
o Immigration (27%)
War in Iraq
At the time of this survey, registered Latinos were evenly split on whether the United States made the right or wrong decision in using military force in Iraq. However, a majority of Hispanic voters are critical of President Bush’s conduct of the war and say they believe that the Bush Administration deliberately misled the American public in its justification for the war. Latino views of the war reflect their partisan loyalties.
Nearly half (46%) of registered Latinos say that the United States made the right decision in using military force against Iraq. The same amount (46%) says that the United States made the wrong choice. Seven percent say that they did not know. Those views are somewhat more negative than responses to similar questions in surveys of the general population and appear to reflect partisan loyalties among Latinos that favor the Democrats.
About four in 10 (41%) registered Latinos say that they strongly disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, and another 15% say that they disapprove somewhat. About two in 10 (22%) strongly approve of the way the President is handling the situation in Iraq and another 15% say they somewhat approve.
Most registered Latinos (54%) say that the Bush Administration deliberately misled the American public about how big a threat Iraq was to the United States before the war began. However, about four in 10 (39%) disagree and 7% say that they do not know. Attitudes About Political Leaders
Registered Latinos are also split on whether or not political leaders care what people like them think and most say that political leaders are not interested in the problems of particular interest to Latinos living in the United States.
About half of registered Latinos agree strongly (29%) or somewhat (23%) that political leaders do not care much what people like them think. Just under half disagree strongly (21%) or somewhat (25%).
Most registered Latinos (54%) say that based on their experience political leaders are not interested in the problems of particular concern to Latinos living in the United States. However, about four in 10 (39%) disagree and say that political leaders are interested in Latino concerns.
Registered Latinos are considerably more likely to say that the Democratic Party has more concern for Latinos than the Republican Party. However, an equal amount says that there is no difference between the two parties.
When asked if the Democratic Party or the Republican Party has more concern for Latinos, over four in 10 (43%) registered Latinos say that the Democratic Party is more.
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