Based on surveys of Latinos’ environmental attitudes and concerns, CLCV Education Fund anticipates that engaging California Latinos in the democratic process will likely lead to strong policy gains benefiting the environment, supporting environmental justice and promoting conservation.
CLCVEF’s 2001 research and polling found that Latino voters, in particular, show higher levels of concern about California’s land, air and water quality than do other voter groups.
California Latinos were more likely than other voters to:
• Rate air and water pollution, soil contamination, and loss of wildlife habitat as “extremely” or “very serious” problems;
• Indicate that the state needs to toughen its environmental laws;
• Endorse conservation as the best solution to the state’s energy crisis;
• Believe that government officials allow low-income and minority communities to bear a disproportionate share of the state’s pollution; and
• Have voted for a political candidate based on his or her support for the environment.
A decade later, similar findings released by the Public Policy Institute of California and a USC/Los Angeles Times confirm that Latino voters in California continue to demonstrate stronger environmental values than other voter groups. As the potential for Latinos’ influence continues to grow in the California electorate, environmental and public health advocates must understand which issues and messages have the most resonance. At stake is the success or failure of policy progress and ballot measures that will impact the environment and ultimately the long-term health and wellness of Latino communities.