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Study: Conservation a Top Election Issue for Latinos

PHOTO: A new report shows that conservation and clean air and water are top issues for Latino voters, busting the myth that immigration is their only concern. Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey.
PHOTO: A new report shows that conservation and clean air and water are top issues for Latino voters, busting the myth that immigration is their only concern. Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey.
August 22, 2014

PHOENIX - Clean air and water are top concerns for the majority of Hispanic voters, according to a new report.

The research analyzed a series of recent Latino public opinion polls, said Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation. It's important for political candidates to understand how to connect with Hispanic voters, she said, and on election issues, it isn't just about immigration. The report shows that Hispanics prefer policies and candidates that actively promote a cleaner environment and preserving public lands.

"One of the reasons as to why this community so overwhelmingly supports conservation," she said. "is that the community sees it as an essential element to a better quality of life."

One of the polls cited in the study found that more than 90 percent of Hispanics in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada believe it is important for government to protect rivers and lakes for families and communities.

Arce said Hispanic voters believe individuals and governments have important roles in preserving natural resources and promoting healthy, clean communities.

"The decision makers and advocates, it's very clear that they'll need to demonstrate their attention to these concerns and policy preferences as the Latino population and electorate continues to grow," she said.

The research compiled nine polls of Hispanic voters and was released in partnership with the group Latino Decisions. The report, "Hispanic Voter Perspectives on Conservation and Environmental Issues," is online at hispanicaccess.org.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ