Republicans may have a new reason to worry they won't win over Hispanic voters.
An analysis of nine polls tracking Hispanic voter preference released Wednesday shows that Hispanics are increasingly anxious about global warming and environmental conservation. That could put Latinos at odds with Republican lawmakers in Congress who deny man-made global warming and denounce President Obama's plan to cut air pollution from power plants.
"From immigration reform to conservation, Latinos want candidates and elected officials who will best represent the issues they care about and will do so by promoting laws that will treat our community with dignity and respect," said Leo Murrieta, national field director of the nonprofit Mi Familia Vota.
The analysis was conducted by Latino Decisions, a Latino public-opinion research firm, and commissioned by the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation. It found that a majority of Hispanic voters across the U.S. view global warming as a highly important issue. The surveys also indicated that Latino voters are worried about air and water quality, and support political action to address these concerns.
"Latinos want government to take an active role in protecting the environment, and they support candidates with strong environmental records," Dr. Adrian Pantoja, a senior analyst for Latino Decisions, said during a call with reporters.
Polling for the analysis included national surveys conducted by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Voces Verdes, a nonpartisan coalition of Latino business and community leaders. Groups Sierra Club and NRDC have attempted to use polling to show that environmental issues resonate with Latino voters to bolster overall support for a pro-environmental political agenda.
The analysis found strong support for government action to rein in air pollution. A majority of Hispanic voters approve of President Obama's efforts to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation's fleet of power plants.
Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the American electorate. But it remains to be seen whether their preference for environmental conservation will impact upcoming elections.
A Pew Research survey conducted in January found that American voters ranked action to address global warming second to last in terms of policy priorities for the president and Congress. Strengthening the nation's economy and improving the job situation took the top two slots, respectively.