The California League of Conservation Voters released the results of a new poll of California Latino voters on their environmental values, which found that two-thirds of Latino voters identify as conservationists and overwhelmingly believe we can “protect the environment and create jobs at the same time.” The statewide survey found Latino voters support “conservation” on a range of issues, believe we can simultaneously protect the environment and create jobs, and personally identify with conservation as a value.
“This new data leaves no doubt that Latino voters are a core constituency for the conservation and environmental movement here in California,” said Sarah Rose, CEO of CLCV Education Fund. “The results will help advocates for the environment and Latino communities more effectively communicate with voters and encourage better environmental leadership from elected leaders who represent this important and growing segment of the electorate.”
CLCV Education Fund will hold a series of public forums in Oakland (October 4), Fresno (October 10), Los Angeles (October 17) and San Diego (October 24) with regional leaders to discuss the results of the poll and next steps.
Overall, the statewide survey found Latino voters support “conservation” on a range of issues, believe we can both protect the environment and create jobs and do not view any conflict between those two objectives, and indicate a personal identification with conservation as a value. Notably:
- Latino voters overwhelmingly agree (90 percent) that we can “protect the environment and create jobs at the same time”, with 69 percent in strong agreement with that statement while only eight percent disagree and the remaining two percent are undecided;
- Two-thirds of Latino voters (66 percent) consider themselves “conservationists”, with nearly three out of 10 (28 percent) strongly self-identifying as conservationists;
- Toxic pollution (85 percent serious problem, 54 percent very serious problem), water pollution (80 percent serious problem, 43 percent very serious problem), and “pollution threatening your family’s health and well-being” rate as the top environmental concerns among Latinos;
- Nearly two-thirds of Latino voters (65 percent) believe conserving our fish and wildlife habitats is a serious concern—noticeably higher than other groups of voters in California;
- A quarter of Latinos (25 percent) have at least one household member suffering from asthma, and these voters are even more concerned about toxic pollution affecting their family’s health as well as other conservation issues;
- In continuing the strong support for conservation theme, nearly all Latinos support energy conservation (96 percent support, 65 percent strongly support);
- Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are also very popular (91 percent support, 68 percent strongly);
- Conversely, Latinos show far lower support for polluting energy sources, with a majority of Latinos opposing drilling off the California coast (51 percent oppose).
Approximately 14 million Latinos reside in California, making up 38% of the state’s total population and 32% of the state’s adult population. However, according to PPIC surveys they represent only 16% of those most likely to vote, a major contrast with non-Hispanic whites, who constitute 46% of California’s adult population but comprise 66% of the state’s likely voters.
“The results of this poll underscore the fact that the 2012 elections will be a critical moment for advancing environmental protections, not just for Latinos but for all Californians,” said Dr. H. Eric Schockman, Vice President of CLCV Education Fund. “Based on these results, it’s clear that when Latinos vote, the environment wins.”
CLCV Education Fund, which works to protect California’s environment and public health through programs focused on nonpartisan voter engagement, advocacy, legislative accountability and research and opinion polling, conducted the first-ever study on the environmental attitudes of California Latino voters in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The studies revealed not only that Latinos were strongly concerned about air and water quality, but that they wanted to toughen environmental laws, bolster enforcement, create more parks and redevelop toxic waste sites such as brownfields.