Eighty percent of Latino voters want America to wean itself off coal, oil and gas.
By Ngoc Nguyen
A new poll shows that Latino voters in six inland western states have strong pro-conservationist views, in some cases stronger than their white counterparts.
The 2012 Colorado College State of the Rockies Conservation in the West poll found that Latino voters in the region nearly unanimously – 94 percent -- view national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas as an essential part of their state’s economy.
The bi-partisan survey, released this week, polled 2400 voters in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, and was conducted by Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. The poll was funded by the Hewlett Foundation.
Metz said the survey dispels the notion that ethnic communities, particularly hard hit in the economic downturn, are “more willing than others to let the environment take a back seat to economy.”
Of the 336 Latino voters polled, 87 percent said they believe it is possible to protect land and water and have a strong economy with good jobs at the same time, compared to 78 percent of the general public.
The poll also shows Latino voters in the region want more “public investment” in conservation efforts, Metz said.
“A solid majority of Latinos, even facing state budget problems, [want the state to] invest in land, water, and state parks,” he said. “Latinos believe those resources make important contributions to the state economy.”
Overall, Latino voters were most concerned about cuts to funding for state parks and environmental protections.
Maite Arce, executive director of the Hispanic Access Foundation based in Washington, D.C., said she wasn’t surprised by Latino voters’ strong pro-conservationist beliefs, and says it is in line with their cultural values.
“For Latinos, family is really critical, health is really critical,” she said. “There’s just a strong connection
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