Young Hispanics skeptical of big government 

An outfit called Generation Opportunity (which boasts 842,000 friends on its “Being American” Facebook page) commissioned an online poll of adults age 18 to 29 in April from the Polling Company/Woman Trend Inc. The most interesting results are from young Hispanics. They preferred “reducing federal spending” to “raising taxes on individuals” in order to “balance the federal budget” by 1 69%-27% margin. Of these young Hispanics, 57% agreed that “if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire” and 56% agreed that “the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.”

 

This poll was by no means a full exploration of the attitudes of young Americans and young Hispanic Americans, and the fact that respondents had to opt in to online invitations in order to take the poll may have skewed the results. Nonetheless, what you don’t see here is a young Hispanic population that sees government spending as the key to economic opportunity or the picture painted by some of young Hispanics as eager clients of the welfare state.

 

According to the exit poll Latinos voted 67%-31% and voters under 30 voted 66%-32% for Barack Obama in 2008, and they voted 68%-29% for Democrats in House races that year. In 2010 the Hispanic margin for Democrats in House races was down to 61%-38%. Some analysts have portrayed Hispanics as part of a single “people of color” voting bloc, but in 2008 and even more in 2010 they voted more like whites than like blacks. The latest numbers from Gallup, in May, showed Hispanic approval of Obama down to 57%, much closer to whites (41%) than blacks (91%). The Generation Opportunity poll seems reasonably consistent with these results. Hispanics have been hit especially hard by the housing collapse—my estimate is that one-third of the foreclosed homeowners in the 2007-09 period were Hispanics—and by the dearth of new jobs, and young Hispanics have been especially hard hit. And it’s not unnatural for people with origins in Mexico or other parts of Latin America not to see government spending as the solution for their problems, especially when America’s experience over the last two and a half years seems to reinforce that lesson.

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Michael Barone

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