This year’s election, 1,632,000 Latinos registered as voters in Los Angeles County, making up 32% of the entire registered voters pool. A new poll was conducted by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and polling group Latino Decisions on Thursday, November 3, at Cal State LA’s downtown campus.
Comprehensive poll findings were presented and discussed by Dr. Adrian D. Pantoja, a Senior Analyst at Latino Decisions, Dr. Matt A. Baretto, Co- Founder and Managing Partner at Latino Decisions, and Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein, Executive Director of Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA.
Surveys were conducted in both English and Spanish, through phone calls, landlines, and emails, and with a sample size of 15,000 Latinos. According to Dr. Pantoja, 71 percent of Latinos were very certain that they will vote and 16 percent said they will probably vote. And based on the numbers shown, the Latino population’s voting choices would be very significant to the possible outcomes of this election.
So far, according to the poll findings, 73 percent of Latinos favored Hillary Clinton, 16 percent favored Donald Trump, 8 percent will vote for neither, and 3 percent did not know. Top issues that concerned Latinos are immigration reform, unemployment, jobs, economy, race-related issues and discrimination.
About three quarters of Latinos felt that this year’s election was more important than the 2012 election, according to Dr. Pantoja. Although sometimes enthusiasm could be mistaken as importance, he was certain about the results, “Enthusiasm is a positive effect in political psychology, I don’t know if people are looking at this election quite positively, with all the negativity… I don’t think it’s excitement, [I thought] how about importance, and that’s why [we put the question on the poll].”
Fifty-six percent of Latinos expressed that they are willing to be taxed more, for more services. 53 percent supported Proposition 64—legalizing Marijuana, and 62 percent favored Proposition 58—non-English languages allowed in public education. In addition, 71 percent of Latinos supported Measure M, which is meant to accelerate rail construction and build new rail lines; enhance local, regional, and express bus service; and improve system connectivity.
Generation gaps certainly played a part in the differentiation of concerns in Latino community. The younger generations (age 18-34) were more interested in immigration reform while the older generations (age 50-64) in economics. Most millennials get their news from the internet, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, the main media source for political content among Latinos is still television. Younger generations also had a more positive attitude towards making abortion always legal.
Birthplace contributed to the poll findings as well. Latinos who were U.S. born had more concern towards immigration, while the ones who were foreign born cared slightly more about discrimination. However, the interesting fact was, 65 percent of foreign born reported experiencing no discrimination, while 46 percent of U.S. born could say the same.
Education was another factor in the research. In regards to experiencing discrimination, the more educated the participants are, the more they agreed that they have experienced discrimination. One of the possible interpretations was, advanced education allowed Latinos to mingle with people outside the Latino community and thus, more chance of exposure to discrimination.
The poll findings were significant in regards to predicting election outcomes and understanding the ever emerging communities and their attitudes toward politics. In addition, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs will continue their research and service. It is a nonpartisan, applied public policy center founded by friends of the California’s 32nd Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown in 1980. The institute dedicates to “the quest for social justice, equality of opportunity, enlightened civic engagement and the improvement of the quality of life for all Californians,” according to the institute’s website. It has been a part of Cal State LA since 1987, now operating with the purpose of “Unleashing the Power of Participation.”
With election day coming up Tuesday, vote wisely, citizens.