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Support for Climate-Change Legislation High Among AZ Latino Voters

Arizona Latinos overwhelmingly support clean energy, according to a new poll. (Adamkaz/iStockphoto)
Arizona Latinos overwhelmingly support clean energy, according to a new poll. (Adamkaz/iStockphoto)
December 26, 2016

PHOENIX -- Nine out of ten Latinos in Arizona want Congress to pass a bill to combat climate change, and 95 percent think it's "extremely or somewhat important" that legislators and the incoming Trump administration take action to increase the use of clean energy, according to a new poll.

The researchers surveyed Latino voters in six key states just before the election. Edward Vargas, senior analyst with the polling firm Latino Decisions, said many Arizona Latino families contend with high levels of air pollution in their neighborhoods - so they support clean energy because it promotes cleaner air.

"We know that there is a strong relationship between where you live and your health. And so, we do see a high prevalence of asthma among Latino children,” Vargas said. "And so, this reiterates the importance of the environment for Latinos."

The poll also found that 96 percent of Latinos in Arizona support candidates who say they'll protect public health by reducing smog and other air pollution.

The research is at odds with the November election results, when President-elect Trump carried the state of Arizona despite having tweeted that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt American markets.

Jennifer Allen, national director of Chispa, part of the League of Conservation Voters, said the poll shows that voters disagree with Trump, and many state-level officials, on these issues.

"Clearly, we see how out of step many elected officials are from their own constituents, and particularly the Latino community,” Allen said. "I think it's often thought of that there's a disconnect on issues of immigration - but what we see from this poll is, it's not just immigration. It's also the environment and fighting climate change."

The poll also found that 79 percent of Latinos in Arizona supported candidates who want to reduce carbon pollution and invest in clean energy.

As of 2015, Arizona ranked second in the nation in utility-scale solar generation.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ