Latinos overwhelmingly want action on climate change
by David Atkins
Latinos are America's fastest growing demographic by far, causing untold headaches for Republicans and forcing Democrats to get serious on issues like immigration reform.
But the Hispanic community isn't just motivated by core economic and immigration-related issues. The environment in general and climate change in particular are also very important:
Latinos overwhelmingly favor government action to fight climate change, voicing a level of support exceeded only in their views on immigration reform, according to a new poll commissioned by an environmental group.Republicans like to deride minority voters, including Latinos, as "low information voters." In reality, on this and many other issues the Latino community is much better educated than the Republican base, which lives in an ignorant denialist fantasyland peddled by Fox News and hate radio. They understand how big a deal it is.
Nine in 10 Latino voters surveyed said it was important for the U.S. government to address global warming and climate change; 80% favored presidential action to fight carbon pollution that causes it, according to the nationwide survey funded by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Other polling has shown that Latinos by wide margins back action to curb pollution, climate change and other environmental problems. The latest poll found even more intense support for policies to counter global warming.
“Almost any way you sliced it, Latinos were saying yes, we think there’s a role for government to regulate and limit carbon pollution,” said Matt Barreto, a professor of political science at the University of Washington and co-founder of Latino Decisions, the political opinion research firm that conducted the poll.
Those views cut across age, income and party affiliation, according to the survey. The poll, however, found somewhat lower support for government action on climate change among Latino Republicans and higher support for environmental protections among Democrats and young Latinos.
The results echo other surveys conducted in recent years for groups like the Sierra Club and National Council of La Raza that have found that a higher percentage of Latinos believe climate change is happening than do Americans as a whole.
As the two political parties vie for the Latino vote, action on climate and environment will be almost as important as action on immigration and jobs.