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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

12 - Latino Issues and Policy Preferences


It is not surprising that the unique place of Latinos in American society – as well as the variation within the group on many dimensions – serves to structure Latino opinion on important policy concerns. The Latino National Survey explored Latino opinion on several important policy dimensions.

Over the past two decades, scholars examining Latino public opinion have consistently found certain response patterns on issues of public importance (see, e.g., Welch and Sigelman 1993; Branton 2007; Nicholson and Segura 2005; Branton 2007). Education, economic concerns, and crime have historically been considered the most important problems facing the nation and the most important problem confronting the Latino community specifically. Indeed, the California politician Cruz Bustamante, who was elected California's first Latino assembly speaker in the late 1990s and went on to two terms as lieutenant governor and an ill-fated run for governor, frequently articulated that the Latino agenda is “the American agenda,” ostensibly to emphasize Latinos’ common concerns with these bread-and-butter political issues.

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