How Can Latinx Voters Influence This Election?

By Yessenia Funes Oct 25, 2016

The presidential election is two weeks away, and there’s one base who consistently care about the environment: the 27 million eligible Latinx voters.

As a ThinkProgress report out today highlights, 68 percent of Latinx voters consider the environment “a very important issue.” That’s 16 percent more than the general voter base, according to the Pew Research Center.

“Over the past eight years, there are only two issues in which we have consistently found over 80 percent of Latin[x] voters are in agreement: These issues are comprehensive immigration reform and combating climate change,” said Edward Vargas, senior analyst at the think tank Latino Decisions, to ThinkProgress.

This statistic could be critical for candidates who are climate deniers, a group that is primarily Republican. In addition, the Latinx population is growing fastest in states the GOP has long considered strongholds: Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana and the Dakotas, according to Pew.

ThinkProgress writes:

In most of these states, Latin[x]s are still years away from becoming as determinant as they are in places like California, Florida, or Nevada, but “it’s still meaningful that you are seeing Latin[x]s moving to states where there used to be no Latin[x]s,” said [Gabriel Sanchez, professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico]. “It sends a signal that you can’t just think about Latin[x]s in the Southwest anymore in terms of the electoral impact.”

This issue hits home for Latinx voters because a number have families across Latin America who will bear some of the greatest impact of climate change. As the ThinkProgress story points out, many Latinx communities in the U.S.—in cities such as Houston, Los Angeles and New York—face severe pollution, the culprit behind climate change. This man-made reality will create an environment that welcomes more wildfires in the Southwest, causes sea level to rise in Florida and intensifies storms in the South.

Along with his positions on immigration, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump denies climate change. Only 19 percent of Latinx voters support him. 

 (H/t Think Progress)