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TEXAS HISPANICS POISED FOR CIVIC PARTICIPATION, NEW STUDY SHOWS

Received this today :

TEXAS HISPANICS POISED FOR CIVIC PARTICIPATION, NEW STUDY SHOWS
Hispanics in Texas favor Democrat Party, but identify center-Right

Contact: media@texaspuentes.org

HOUSTON- 06/23/2011 – Hispanics in Texas will now have expanded opportunities to help them strengthen their civic engagement and have their voices heard by Texas governmental leaders. Texas Puentes Initiative (TPI) a Texas-based
nonpartisan organization promoting education, civic participation, and research within Hispanic communities, is launching today with a survey of registered Hispanic voters in the State of Texas.

In 2004, Texas became a “minority-majority” state, joining Hawaii, New Mexico, and California with a majority of the state population comprised of groups who identify as ethnic and/or racial minorities. With projections that
the Hispanic population in Texas will be the largest demographic group by the year 2020, Texas Puentes Initiative was established by concerned Texans to usher in a new era of engagement. Their first survey, completed in June 2011, focused on key areas important to Hispanics. Findings from the survey reaffirm that Texas Hispanics have an important voice in our elections.

While 58% of registered Hispanics in Texas feel the state is not going in the right direction, 64% approve of President Obama’s job in office. “There appears to be a disconnect between Hispanics’ perceptions of their state and
the leadership in Washington”, said Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., Principal
Researcher at TPI and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northern
Arizona University. This disconnect may be influenced by the majority of the
power in Texas centered on the Republican Party. When asked about their view on how they think the political parties perceive them, a majority of Hispanics felt that Republicans either did not care or were being negative towards them.
“Not only do Hispanics seem to be responding to current discussions about
immigration, voter identification, and sanctuary cities, but Hispanics are also
being disproportionally affected by the slumping national economy”, said
Nuño.

When considering support of Texas leaders, Governor Perry and the State
Legislature received almost identical approval ratings, with 41% and 42% respectively, saying they approved of their jobs in office. However, the Tea Party was given the lowest approval and was even less popular than Arizona’s
Immigration policy (SB1070), with only 25% of Hispanics saying they either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the grassroots movement. More than 90% of Hispanics say they have no affiliation with the Tea Party.

Hispanics also overwhelmingly support Democrats in four key areas: economy, education, health care, and immigration reform. When asked what the most important issues facing the Hispanic community were, immigration was the most important (40%), followed by economic issues, such as fixing the economy (17%), creating jobs (25%), and housing (34%). “However, this rather bleak outlook for Republican outreach into Hispanic communities could be a superficial one”, said Nuño, “because Hispanics are still yearning for leadership to help them manage the obstacles of our current economy. There doesn’t appear to be much progress through their current affiliation with the Democrats. If the Republican Party can help fix these problems, their interests might overwhelm their perceptions.” While the findings show that relationships between Hispanics and Republicans are frayed, a significant number of Hispanics identify as conservative.

“There is a lack of communication that needs to change. Surveys like this allow governmental leaders to know their constituencies and really address the concerns of Hispanic communities”, said Jenny Korn, former Director of
Hispanic affairs at the White House.

Texas Puentes Initiative’s President Melissa Salas Blair celebrated the survey effort noting, “it is of vital importance to consistently engage communities through concrete outreach initiatives. Surveying is a powerful way to communicate with the Hispanic communities of Texas and to let their voices be heard. We hope to do many more in the future. It’s important for Texas!”

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Texas Puentes Initiative is a nonpartisan organization and does not support or
endorse any political candidates or party. Our goal is to facilitate strong
civic engagement within all levels of Texas government and to represent the
traditional values of Hispanic communities. We will promote education and
provide information to citizens that empowers them to participate in the civic
life of Texas and make informed decisions on policy and governmental issues. For
more information about Texas Puentes Initiative, please visit our website at
www.texaspuentes.org

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