The Open Secret to Winning the Latino Vote: Go Green
June 3, 2015
As the 2016 election cycle gets underway, the media has been scrambling to figure out the latest voter polls, to predict the trends that will determine our next president. However, there has been one big voter development that we’ve all overlooked.
Latinos really care about our environment.
And they’ve been voting to show it for over a decade.
Latinos make up around 17% of the US population, and around 10% of the voter population. They are, more than ever, a critical base to any candidate engaging the American public. Analysts and reporters have suggested many ways to appeal to Latinos, but they’re all missing out on the clearest, easiest method.
Who Cares About Conservation?
Today, a report on Latino voters’ stances on conservation was released by the Hispanic Access Foundation. Using polling data and election results from 2014, authors Dr. Matt A. Barreto and Bryan Wilcox-Archuleta examined Latino voters in Florida, California, New Mexico and Colorado.
They found that all of the groups they followed voiced support for and voted on ballot measures directly relating to environmental conservation. The report also cited polls showing that 80% of eligible Latino voters polled believed that federal action to reduce carbon pollution was “extremely” or “very” important.
It’s a Fact, Not a Fad
This isn’t a new movement springing up, it’s a consistent priority within the Hispanic electorate. In a 2006 survey on Californians by the Public Policy Institute of California, “A majority of Latino likely voters (54%) rate the candidates’ stand [on environmental policy] as very important for their decision”. Surveys since then have recorded the continuation of this trend to recent years.
Earth Day Network (EDN) is proud to facilitate these climate voters through our Million Climate Voter Registration campaign. In April on the National Mall in front of 250,000 people, the coalition between the NAACP Voter Fund, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project , League of Conservation Voters and EDN committed to registering one million climate voters for the 2016 election.
For 13 years, EDN has encouraged the registration of climate voters as it facilitates participation in our democratic system, and encourages voters to factor in the risk of dangerous climate change in their decision making.
The number of Hispanic voters has increased by 3.9 million since 2010, and the proportion of the voter population held by the Latino electorate is forecast to increase in the future. The growing Latino community has caught on to the importance of environmentalism, now it’s time for the rest of us to follow suit. The environment isn’t a partisan problem, it’s about as partisan as the ground we walk on and the air we breathe. It’s time to stop putting green policy in the back burner— the environment is a critical concern and people will be voting to reflect it.
To the “pragmatic” politician who thinks conservation and sustainability is all a passing fashion: Your loss. The future of our Earth will go to those take the action to protect it.
Julie Hu, Intern