by Gelet Martínez Fragela
Arizona Latinos are most concerned about inflation, jobs and rising crime, according to a new poll published by UNIDOS US, a research and policy analysis organization that has focused on Hispanic American issues since 1968.
The poll, taken between July 20 and August 1 ranked 14 issues in terms of priorities for Arizona based Latinos, finding that of those categories 49% considered inflation the most pressing concern. Thirty four percent focused on jobs and 27% on crime.
Other issues Latinos expressed concern about were abortion, affordable housing, government corruption, climate change, health care, discrimination, COVID-19, education, social security, border security and immigration issues in that order.
A recent ADN America report that analyzed several national polls and surveys found that on a national level, most Hispanic Americans are concerned about crime, the economy and immigration as their most pressing issues. That report collected data from The Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News Quinnipiac and the Economist/YouGov.
The Arizona poll, which also shows that state based Hispanic Americans still lean Democratic raises new questions about the midterm elections since the top issues Latinos seem to be focused on are those being heralded by Republicans.
“A whopping 80% of Arizona Latinos support keeping abortion legal, regardless of their personal beliefs.
Yet 42% of Latinos said nobody had contacted them about this year’s midterm election. That’s bad news for Republicans jubilant over the end of Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to abortion nationwide.
But it’s also bad news for Democrats, who should be ashamed of themselves for largely ignoring this important voting bloc,” writes Arizona Republic columnist Elvia Diaz.
When asked if they had been contacted in the past six months, 32% of Latinos said they heard from the Republican Party, and only 19% from Democratic Party. Forty two percent said they hadn’t heard from either side.
Diaz said this fact was “astonishing,” and emphasized in her columns that both parties are looking to Latinos as the key to election victory this November, but neither party seems to have won clear support.
That’s an important, unavoidable reality for both parties right now since the poll also says 62% of Latinos believe the country is currently on the wrong track and that 66% are 100% certain they will vote.
When taking a deeper look at what Latinos mean by the country being on the wrong track however, the issues are split.
On the one hand, when it comes to inflation, 90% of Latinos are most concerned about rising food prices, 88% are worried about high gas prices and 51% fear escalating medical costs. That spells out good news for Republicans.
On the other hand however, when asked what their concerns were about crime and gun violence, 70% said that guns were too easy to access, a fact that could work in favor for Democrats since that party is more supportive of gun control measures.
Another mixed set of facts that raise questions are that 57% said elected officials need to find a way to quell school shootings, 52% said we need community mental health programs, 45% said domestic violence cases are not taken seriously enough by law enforcement and 36% complained that crime had risen in their own neighborhood.
That last statistic—that more than a third of Latinos are complaining of actual crime in their neighborhoods may fare well with conservative law and order candidates hailing from the right.
Another issue Latinos had mixed concerns about was specifically what’s happening in the job market. While 68% complained that their job does not pay enough, 39% are worried about having their hours cut another 30% are worried about having to pick up extra hours because of the work shortage.
According to Elizabeth Salazar, a UnidosUS Arizona senior policy strategist familiar with the poll, that doesn’t mean Latinos don’t care—only that both parties need to work harder to earn their vote.
“We’re not apathetic,” Salazar said in a recent media call. “We are unconvinced… We hope this is a wake up for both parties.”
One fact that seems almost universal for Hispanic Americans across the board is bipartisanship. A whopping 94% said it was important to them that they elect leaders who are willing to work with both parties.
Latinos were even at 80% wanting candidates with government experience and the same ratio desiring candidates with business experience.
While only 55% of those polled said it was important to them a candidate knew how to speak Spanish, 74% said they would prefer to vote for someone who was endorsed by a Hispanic or Latino organization.
Although only 9% of those polled prioritized immigration as their key issue, 51% said President Joe Biden should use his executive authority to protect Dreamers and undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for a long time, and 43% said the White House should not use the border crisis as an excuse to do nothing to protect those undocumented immigrants who are already working and residing in the U.S.
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Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who founded ADN Cuba.
Photo “group of residents” by Indiana Humanities CC BY 2.0.