How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: Latinos are more LGBT tolerant than we think

As conventional wisdom goes, Latinos are not the most tolerant group when it comes to accepting homosexuality. But this is more perception than reality, a new report says.

The National Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions, a public opinion research firm, have released a survey suggesting that Latinos are not as unaccepting of LGBT peers or even of same-sex marriage as perceived to be, although those who are deeply religious are less tolerant, similar to the general population. And surprisingly, while the acculturation level of immigrants are plays a part, the level of tolerance doesn't vary so much between first-generation immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos. From the report:

With regard to support for legal gay marriage, Gallup has been tracking support within the overall U.S. population since 1996. They most recently found that 53 percent of Americans support legal gay 0% marriage. This compares quite nicely with our data on Hispanics, for whom 54 percent offered their support.

We found strong support for other policies as well in our data. Sixty-four percent of Latinos support civil unions. No less than 83 percent of Latinos support legal protections for hate crimes, job discrimination, housing discrimination, as well as support for healthcare and pension benefits for gay and lesbian couples. Over three out of four (78 %) support open military service.


NCLR's Janet Murguía: 'A few nonpartisan dos and don'ts for aspiring candidates'

Photo by nathangibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by nathangibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Given the rocky start that one presidential hopeful in Texas had yesterday, making a dud of a tequila joke before a room full of Latinos, the timing for an insider's guide to the Latino vote couldn't be better.

The Hill's Congress Blog published the guide today, written by National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguía. And while it doesn't go so far as to advise against tasteless jokes, it covers the basics: Take Latino voters and their concerns seriously, especially immigration; engage them and don't take them for granted; don't demonize them, because they'll vote against you. An excerpt:

Don’t write off the Latino vote. Candidates who believe that Hispanics are part of any party’s base are under a grave misapprehension. While it is true that most Hispanics are registered Democrats, history also shows that most are frequent ticket-splitters. Both President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush received more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in their reelection campaigns.

Some analysts note that a Republican needs to receive 40 percent of the Latino vote to win the presidency. In fact, for many candidates in 2010, failing to engage the Latino voter cost them the election. So those who appeal to Latino voters early stand a better chance of ending strong.


Quote of the moment: NCLR's Martinez De Castro on what motivates Latino voters

Photo by Joe Hall/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A multilingual sign points the way to a polling place, November 2006

"Much has been made about Latino enthusiasm around voting on Tuesday, suggesting that low enthusiasm means 'not voting.' Well, here's the thing: I am voting on Tuesday, but I would hardly describe my mood as 'enthusiastic.'

"All to say that there are different factors vying for Latino attention--some could dampen participation, some could energize it--and the way that candidates define themselves on the issues makes a difference to those energy levels."

- Clarissa Martinez De Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, in the Huffington Post

Martinez's opinion piece made the Twitter rounds this weekend. In it she wrote about about the varied perceptions of Latino voters as either a) a solid voting block, aligned on issues and focused chiefly on immigration (which they are not); b) no different than the rest of the electorate, without common interests (which they are also not).