Latinos more in favor of government involvement to solve country's issues, says poll
by Adrian Carrasquillo
NBC Latino (June 26, 2012)
A new poll on Latino attitudes regarding government involvement to solve problems may suggest problems for Republicans and their hopes to secure Hispanic voters.
According to the USA Today/Gallup poll, the majority of Hispanics, 56 percent, say government should do more to solve our country's problems as compared to 37 percent of all Americans who feel the same way.
"It's a long-held position by many Latinos who basically see the role of a more activist government than most Americans do right now," says Angelo Falcon, of the National Institute for Latino Policy.
Falcon says the attitudes are due in part to the socio-economic status of a large number of Hispanics who may depend in part on government benefits and programs. He also says it may have to do with the governments from their home countries. The poll gives credence to this idea, with the figure jumping to 61 percent of Latinos born outside the United States favoring greater government involvement.
"It shows that when Republicans talk about small government or limited government and cutting back programs, this doesn't resonate with most Latinos," Falcon says. "Latinos may be more socially conservative but social conservatism doesn't translate into widespread support for GOP positions."
The poll brings some issues into focus for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney which could be problematic in November. For instance, Falcon says Romney may not want to stress small government in speeches to Latinos or in Spanish-language television ads. But he says the data is more good news for President Obama after his recent immigration announcement, which would provide work visas to DREAM Act eligible undocumented immigrants.
The poll found Obama's support to be strong among Latinos, at 66 percent compared to 25 percent for Romney, and while the questions were asked before the president's immigration announcement, Falcon says the executive order is only raising Obama's support among Hispanics.
"Latinos for the most part view it as positive thing," he says. "It gives the impression someone was listening - that the community was able to exert pressure to get the Obama administration to reverse itself. It's the community flexing its political muscle, saying 'si se puede,' and showing that it's possible to change the course of government."
Falcon, humor in his voice, says in this case the executive order by the president was the government intervening to stop the government.
"His order was for less government intervention," he says.
"He intervened in a government program to deport people. The policy is the government is not going to do anything."