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Latino Voters Anxious About the Economy

An opinion poll among Latino voters in the United States revealed a high level of economic anxiety in the community, a disconnect in the economic decisions made by the Obama administration and the highest level of concern ever seen about the current immigration policy. The poll, the first one in a series to be conducted jointly by impreMedia and Latino Decisions (LD) over the next twelve months, explores the situation of the Latino group most integrated into American society: voters, whether born here or naturalized citizens. Araceli Ceja is one of those citizens, currently unemployed, who fears for her family’s future. "The truth is I voted for Obama and I still have faith that he can change things," said Ceja during an interview at the local unemployment office, where she was waiting for some paperwork. "But I have been unemployed for a year, filled out more than 100 job applications and have not gotten anywhere. No one is hiring." Ceja may reflect a reality that, although serious for the entire country, has hit Latinos and African-Americans the hardest. Despite a recent decrease in the overall and Latino unemployment rates, Latinos still have higher unemployment than the majority: 12.6% versus 8.7% for the white population. Middle-class Latinos and those who are more integrated into society are also feeling the insecurity of the recession, even though it appears that an economic recovery has started. The problem is that the recovery has not reached all parts of society. This is why the results of a Latino voter poll are even more important than a poll of the Latino population as a whole, according to Matt Barreto, a political science professor at the University of Washington and pollster for LD. Here we see that the economy is having a very significant effect on the Latino community, and we are referring to a group of Latinos that is more integrated into the country’s economic and political life, usually a more stable group than the newly arrived," said Barreto. "This is a number I did not expect to be so high." continue reading »