Latinos in Colorado continue to struggle financially and rank the economy, inflation and the rising cost of living among their top policy concerns, according to the second annual Colorado Latino Policy Agenda released today. Gun violence and abortion rights are also on the minds of Latino voters as the 2022 election quickly approaches. The Colorado Latino Policy Agenda (CLPA) is an annual, nonpartisan report that provides insight for elected officials, community leaders, media and others interested in the demographic makeup and views of Latinos in Colorado on pressing policy, political, and other relevant issues in the state.
Among the key findings this year:
Half (50%) of Latinos in Colorado report that their economic situation has gotten worse in the past 12 months;
a third (33%) report that they quit their job in the last 12 months due to poor working conditions;
nearly one-quarter (23%) had their workload or hours increased without a raise or promotion;
and an alarming 83% worry that their child could become a victim of a mass shooting.
The CLPA is based on the largest nonpartisan survey of Latino registered voters conducted in Colorado and is commissioned by the Voces Unidas de las Montañas, Voces Unidas Action Fund, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and COLOR Action Fund. Protégete of Conservation Colorado also served as a partner on the 2022 report.
“The 2022 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda makes clear that the challenges facing Latinos when it comes to jobs, housing and the economy are severe – and in need of significant action from 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. “With fresh data revealing new priorities for Latinos, this year’s report also allows us to expand on our research base from 2021 as we work with elected officials and community leaders to recommend and explore solutions for the future.” Intended for use by lawmakers and other officials in the year ahead, the 2022 CLPA was informed by a statewide poll of 1,504 Latino registered voters conducted online and via phone from July 5 to Aug. 5. The poll is intended to provide a representative, nonpartisan snapshot of views of Latino voters on both national and local issues, offering valuable perspective on the state of Latinos in Colorado.
“This is the largest survey of its kind in Colorado, providing a robust statewide data set that will inform policymakers at all levels of government about the needs and priorities of the state’s significant and growing Latino population,” said Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, who led the poll for BSP Research, which for 20+ years has helped community-based organizations research a diversifying U.S. “And, given our work last year, the 2022 survey provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the economic vulnerability of many Latino residents of Colorado. Unfortunately, Latinos continue to face tremendous economic headwinds.” The bulk of poll respondents’ top priorities revolved around economic concerns, likely exacerbated by the period of severe economic challenges and nationwide inflation concerns while the poll was conducted.
Whether at the local or the national level, 4 of the top 5 most important issues identified by Latino voters for elected officials to prioritize in the coming year related to economics. “Addressing the cost of living/inflation” topped the list for Congress and the President and ranked No. 2 behind “jobs and the economy” among the most important issues for Colorado officials to address.
Addressing gun violence and mass shootings ranked fourth at both the state and federal levels. In fact, more than 81% believe policymakers in the state should take more aggressive steps to reduce the number of mass shootings. Generally, the research reiterated Latino support for public policies that expand access to services and resources to a wider segment of the state’s population. This includes high support for expanding access to health insurance for all Colorado residents, including undocumented immigrants, and ensuring state residents have access to affordable housing. The Latino community wants to see more policy action on abortion in particular, with nearly 70% of registered voters surveyed saying they do not believe the federal government is currently doing enough to address the issue following the overturned ruling of Roe vs Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. Latinos surveyed are three times more likely to support protecting women’s reproductive health rights as a priority over limiting or banning abortion. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of survey respondents further expressed their willingness to vote for Pro-Choice candidates in 2022. “Protecting and expanding our access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, is crucial for democracy,” said Dusti Gurule, President and CEO of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). “Latinos are a powerful force in the health and wellbeing of our democracy, just as they are a force behind protecting abortion access. This poll shows us what we’ve known for a long time – that our community values the freedom to choose and determine their own futures.” Latino residents are also very concerned with climate change and strongly support policies that will transition the state toward a clean-energy economy, incentivize electric vehicles and solar energy, and invest more tax dollars in public transportation. Environmental justice and access to clean water in particular are also among the top concerns for Latinos in the survey.
“We all need clean air, equitable access to clean-potable water, and healthy communities to thrive. Unfortunately, Latinos in Colorado don’t always have access to these fundamental needs,” said Beatriz Soto, Director of Protégete for Conservation Colorado. “Among the noteworthy findings this year is that nearly a third of Latinos do not trust the water quality in their homes – and that figure jumps to 40 percent of mobile-home residents. There is clearly a need for action on water quality in our communities.”
As in 2021, the research in 2022 shows that Colorado’s Latino community remains very much in a struggle with COVID-19. Almost twice the number of Latinos have had someone in their household become infected with the virus in 2022 relative to 2021, and long-term COVID-19 symptoms are on the rise as well. Survey data also provides insights regarding the economic challenges traceable to COVID-19 that the Latino community in Colorado continues to face. “As the research shows, Latinos are very interested in being more engaged in public policy and political discussions, but often feel excluded from the decision-making process,” said Alex Sánchez. “The second annual Colorado Latino Policy Agenda offers an opportunity for policymakers to consider the diverse needs, priorities, and growing political voice of the Latino community statewide.” The Colorado Latino Policy Agenda is an initiative of Voces Unidas de las Montañas, Voces Unidas Action Fund, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and COLOR Action Fund. To download the full report and additional data, visit www.coloradolatinopolicyagenda.org.