August 6, 2004

The Political Voice Of Generation X

In a recent survey of 2,640 young Latinos age 18 to 34, conducted by Terra.com, 90.8 percent believe that the Hispanic vote is critical in this election year. On the heels of the much anticipated Democratic Convention, both presidential candidates have done their share of campaigning to this influential segment by making appearances to key Hispanic civil rights groups and spending large amounts of money on Spanish-language advertising.

Presidential hopefuls are not ignoring the Census Bureau’s findings: there are an estimated 40 million Latinos living in the U.S. and a large portion of Hispanics are young. Census 2000 also reported that over 9 million Latinos were between the ages of 20 to 34 and the median age was 25.8 while that of their white counterparts was 38.6. “Young adults have ideas, insights and a strong political voice,” said Dr. Gabriela Lemus, director of policy and legislation of LULAC. “Their power can sway a major political election.”

According to the survey, top issues affecting young Latinos today include the war in Iraq and terrorism. An overwhelming 82.6 percent of young Latinos surveyed were against the war in Iraq and 24.9 percent believe that the war is being played out for economic gain. In fact, 57.7 percent stated that the political warfare of the Bush administration is not warranted and there is sincere concern for the thousands of lives lost. “I just find it very interesting that the elder George Bush and George W. both took this country to war,” said 22-year-old Daniela Resendez, a student at The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburgh, TX. “I feel that most political leaders let their ambition get in the way of really using our resources to help the people that need it the most.” These issues may have affected Bush’s chances to get the young Latino vote as 66.9 percent of all respondents said they would vote for Senator Kerry in the upcoming presidential election.

The survey also revealed that young Latinos worry about terrorism and half of respondents feel that the war is far from over. “These responses may be due to the fact that many of their parents escaped terrorism or warfare in their home countries and hoped that their children would not be subjected to similar atrocities,” said Lemus, “The events of 9-11 brought back bad memories that Latino families do not want to relive.”

The survey revealed that young adult Latinos set aside taboos and are open to homosexuality; however, like President Bush, 52.8 percent oppose homosexual marriages. “It’s been my experience that Latinos tend to oppose discrimination against any segment, but this response to the issue of gay marriages can likely be attributed to the strength of our cultural traditions,” adds Resendez.

Although most Gen Xers surveyed have watched tragic events unfold via a digital connection (whether from a laptop or a TV screen), 46 percent of young adult Latinos do see a clear vision for the future and are quite optimistic.

“Although I am living in a country full of political problems, I still see that good things are yet to come,” said Resendez. The possibilities are endless.”

A total of 3,300 Terra.com users participated in the survey. Survey results included 2,640 respondents who were between the ages of 18 to 34 years old.

For survey results CLICK on: http://www.terra.com/especiales/juventud/

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