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Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Hispanic Polling in New Mexico Shows Strong Backing for Conservation

Yesterday, the Latino Sustainability Institute and Project New America Latino released the findings (pdf) of a poll on Hispanic attitudes toward conservation that showed overwhelming support for protecting land and water as well as deep concerns about the threats to New Mexico’s water and wild landscapes. The poll of 600 Hispanic New Mexico voters across party lines by Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies has a margin of error of 4.4%. Click for the polling presentation (pdf), which can also be found at the Latino Sustainability Web site.

“As a native New Mexican who has lived his life deeply concerned about the future of our state’s precious land and water resources, I was buoyed this week to learn that I was not alone in having those concerns,” said Arturo Sandoval, Executive Director of the Latino Sustainability Institute. “Clearly, politicians who ignore Hispanics in New Mexico on issues related to caring for our land and water do so at their own peril.”

“New Mexico, as a majority minority state, is an important bellwether for rural Hispanic attitudes nationally,” said Jason Leon of Project New America Latino. “These findings underscore a consciousness about conservation and the importance of strong environmental safeguards to protect our families from pollution that is emerging in the Latino community as a whole.”

  • Hispanic voters have serious concerns about a wide range of conservation issues, particularly drought and water scarcity, forest fires, pollution of air and water, and the loss of natural wildlife habitats. This includes a total of 91 percent of Hispanics voters concerned about water scarcity and fires and 87 percent expressing concern about pollution in drinking water, lakes and rivers.
  • Hispanic voters overwhelmingly favor continuing federal funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Seventy-three percent of Hispanics back protecting the fund, which uses royalties collected from off-shore drilling to build local parks and preserve land and water resources such as the Valles Caldera.
  • There is broad support among Hispanic voters for designating additional public lands as national monuments in New Mexico (58 percent support and 35 percent oppose) and protecting them from development. New Mexico’s National Monuments, such as Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands and Bandelier have created thousands of jobs and attracted millions of visitors to our state since they have been created. Currently, there is a move afoot in the U.S. House of Representatives to limit the President’s ability to designate national monuments, despite more public input into such designations than ever before
  • A strong majority of Hispanic voters (54 percent to 34 percent) support limiting how much cattle grazing can be done on public lands in order to protect the land from overuse.
  • Hispanic voters overwhelmingly support ending the nearly $16 billion a year in federal tax breaks for oil and gas companies, 63 percent to 31 percent.

Click for a more complete polling memo (pdf).

“These results are significant in that they show solid support for efforts to protect land and water in the state,” said Mike Bocian, who has been polling in New Mexico for a decade. “This is the first New Mexico survey to dive deep into Hispanic attitudes on conservation. Our findings, that Hispanics overwhelmingly support basic protections for land and clean water, demonstrate that there is a huge opportunity to communicate to Hispanics on environmental issues and that they are very open to and supportive of conservation efforts."

The Latino Sustainability Institute promotes conservation policies across New Mexico among Latinos; seeks to educate and engage Latinos in conservation issues; works to build relationships between conservation groups and Latino organizations; and supports Latino land- and water-based organizations and communities focusing on conversation issues.

Project New America Latino is a national Latino strategy firm based in Washington, DC.

September 15, 2011 at 04:12 PM in Energy, Environment, Hispanic Issues, Polling | Permalink