Statewide report shows Latinos’ political priorities are dominated by economic concerns
Now in its second year, the Colorado Latino Policy Agenda aims to provide elected officials, community leaders, and policymakers with insight into the makeup, opinions, and priorities of Colorado Latinos.
“Colorado Latino’s 2022 policy agenda makes it clear that the challenges facing Latinos in jobs, housing, and the economy are serious — and require significant action by officials at the local, state, and federal levels. “, said Alex Sánchez, president. and CEO of Voces Unidas de las Montañas and Voces Unidas Action Fund, during a press conference for the new report on Wednesday, September 14.
“With new data revealing new priorities for Latinos, this year’s report also allows us to expand our research base from 2021 as we work with elected officials and community leaders to recommend and explore solutions to the future,” added Alex Sánchez.
The 2022 report was commissioned by the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), COLOR Action Fund, Voces Unidas de las Montañas, and Voces Unidas Action Fund.
The survey, conducted by BSP Research, polled 1,504 registered Latino voters from across the state. Gabriel Sanchez, who led the poll for BSP Research, said Wednesday it made it “the largest survey of its kind in Colorado,” and was designed to give it a small margin of error as well as an opportunity to compare results across four regions of the state.
The survey results are broken down by segments, including demographics, as well as Denver, Northeast, Southeast, and Western Colorado regions.
“This is unprecedented research and we have never been able to pull data by region or congressional district. Data localization is essential for the discussions that need to take place at the local and regional level. Our goal is for community members, policy makers, the media and others to have relevant polling data that can be used for local action,” Alex Sánchez said Thursday in an interview with the Vail Daily.
Moreover, the importance of this data can be seen in some of the data itself. During the press conference, Gabriel Sanchez said that although the report shows great enthusiasm and an intention for Latinos to vote in the elections, 58% responded that they were not reportedly contacted (or mobilized) on political and political issues in the state.
In Congressional Districts 2 and 3 — both of which represent parts of Eagle County — those numbers were even higher with 67% and 69% of attendees responding that they had not been contacted about the election. These are the highest percentages in the state.
With that, Alex Sánchez said Wednesday it showed the “need to do more work to make sure we all participate in democracy,” calling on Colorado’s political system and candidates to “do better.”
“General public polls often include Latinos. But in a sample of 500, perhaps Latinos accounted for 30 to 60 people — mostly from urban areas — in the poll. It is not good enough and is not representative of our community and rural parts of the state,” he added Thursday. “Our poll is historic; we polled 1,504 Latinos and only about 500 were from Denver, which means about 1,000 of the voters are rural Latinos.
One of the main highlights of the 2022 survey is that Latinos in Colorado continue to struggle economically, Sanchez said at the press conference.
Specifically, economic issues filled four of the top five priorities that state respondents reported as the most important issues they wanted Colorado officials to address. These four issues were jobs and the economy, tackling the rising cost of living and inflation, improving wages and incomes, and creating affordable and accessible housing. In the West region, this rising cost of living was flagged as the #1 problem (relative to jobs and the state economy).
(The fifth issue — which ranked fourth statewide and third in the West Region — was gun violence and mass shootings.)
These priorities were also reflected in poll questions about topics that would make them more likely to support candidates in future elections.
As economic concerns build on the concerns expressed by Colorado Latinos in the 2021 Latin American political platform, the situation takes on a new urgency with 50% of respondents – 44% in the West region – pointing out that their economic situation has worsened in the past. 12 months.
Mental health problems
Highlighting the differences between regions, one of the areas Latinos in western Colorado responded to differently was the issue of mental health.
“The data suggests that our current mental health care system is not working for all Latinos. Simply funding the existing system without any systemic change will not solve the problem of our mental health care system being ill-prepared to meet the needs of all Latinos, especially in rural areas where the system has created monopolies under a size unique. everything,” Alex Sánchez said Thursday.
Fifty percent of respondents in the West region said that while there are good aspects of the mental health system in Colorado, “fundamental changes are needed to make it work better for the Hispanic community/ latin”.
However, nearly a third of Western respondents (31%) said the system had “too many problems” and needed to be completely rebuilt to better serve the Hispanic/Latino community. That was compared to 23% statewide who said they felt that way.
“Economic figures from 2021 and 2022 data suggest that Latinos are facing unprecedented economic pressure, which is further impacting the health and well-being of families. The fact that 57% of Latinos statewide have less than $1,000 in emergency savings speaks to the alarming stress that Latinos are under,” said Alex Sánchez.
Reducing healthcare costs was also ranked as a (slightly) higher priority in the Western region than in other Colorado regions. In the West region, 22% of respondents identified this as a significant issue, compared to 20% of respondents statewide.
Solving these challenges, added Alex Sánchez, will require more than just funding.
“We don’t fix broken systems with just funding. This must include system and practice changes,” he said. “Some of the solutions must include recruiting new, more culturally competent providers in the region to expand access and improve services. We must do better to attract and retain providers of color who better understand the communities served. We need to attract and retain mental health system leaders, at all levels, to ensure that people with expertise contribute to system change.
One of the things the Policy Agenda did differently in its second year was to take this data and create a number of recommended policy actions that the organizations involved in the survey would like to see implemented.
“We’ve included all of the political preferences that Latinos overwhelmingly support. Each recommendation has a 2 to 1 margin of support,” said Alex Sánchez. “That means Latinos, statewide, regardless of region or party, most likely support (those preferences). We hope that these recommendations will serve as a roadmap for decision makers.
Five key areas for action were identified in the 2022 report. This includes policy actions on housing, environment and health, and reproductive health as well as proposed actions on gun safety and increasing taxpayer investments.
On housing, some of the proposed policy measures include limiting the amount landlords can raise mobile home rent (something 88% of respondents showed support for) as well as helping families buy homes. close to quality schools, workplaces and public transportation by building up, not out (71% respondent support) and allowing multiple units to be built on a single lot (70% respondent support ).
When it comes to environmental policy, 80% of respondents (87% in Western Colorado) favored regulations for mobile home parks to provide residents with clean drinking water.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Beatriz Soto, director of protection for Conservation Colorado, said these and other findings show the urgency and clear need “to act on water quality in our communities.” “.
Additional recommendations on the environment included transitioning to clean energy conservation (with 70% support for reporting) and expanding rebates on electric vehicles and solar power (with 69% support for reports).
With regard to health and reproductive health policy, the strongest support was shown for the expansion of basic health care services for those who cannot afford insurance, regardless of their health status. immigration (with 78% support), the permanent allowance for access to safe and legal abortions in Colorado (68% support and above).
With respect to gun safety, there was strong reported support for making background checks mandatory on all gun sales (85% reported), raising the age to 21 years for the purchase of assault rifles (75% support) and the addition of a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm. (75% support). Additionally, 66% of those surveyed supported banning the sale and purchase of assault rifles.
And finally, there are recommendations to increase taxpayer investment in community programs to achieve more funding (80% expressed support), K-12 education, and higher salaries for school workers (72% support), improved training and regulations for law enforcement officers (67%). percent), expanded access to childcare for low-income families (67 percent), and better access to reproductive health resources (67 percent).
To view Colorado Latino’s 2022 political platform or learn more about the effort, visit ColoradoLatinoPolicyAgenda.org.