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Half of Latinos in New York are for Gay Marriage or Civil Unions, According to New UAlbany Tracking Poll

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University at Albany Latino Political Barometer issues first data analysis of a comprehensive poll of Latino political and cultural trends; results will be the first of many

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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Latino Political Barometer news conference

The Latino Political Barometer tracks voting trends and issues important to Latinos. From left, UAlbany Professor Jose Cruz, Senator Pedro Espada, UAlbany Interim President George M. Philip, Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, SUNY Vice Provost Pedro Caban. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 5, 2009) -- Half of Latinos in New York State are for gay marriage or civil unions, according to a newly established poll by the University at Albany's New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet) consortium, while only 18 percent of the state's Latino's self-identify as "liberal."

In a survey of more than 1,200 people, the UAlbany Latino Political Barometer, a new survey instrument that tracks the political, social and cultural views of the Latino community across the northeast, found that 25 percent of New York's Latinos were in favor of same-sex marriage, while 25 percent were for civil unions between member of the same sex. The poll revealed that 18 percent of New York's Latinos consider themselves liberal, while 21 percent consider themselves moderate and 31 percent self-identify as conservative.

The new poll tracks voting trends and issues important to Latinos across the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In New York's neighboring states, 37 percent of Latinos favored gay marriage or civil unions compared to the 50 percent in New York, but the numbers who identified as moderate or conservative were identical. Fifteen percent of Latinos in neighboring states identified as liberal, compared to New York's 18 percent. However 81 percent of New York Latinos named the Democratic party as the one that handles the issues of  Latinos best, compared to 75 percent in the other northeastern states.

The release of the first UAlbany Latino Political Barometer results is the first in a series that will track important Latino issues, including the economy, education, war in Iraq, and perspectives on Latino culture.  The Barometer is conducted by NYLARNet, a UAlbany research consortium which addresses a broad spectrum of concerns related to the Latino community, and provides information services to legislators, public agencies, community organizations, and the media on U.S. Latino affairs.

"I am enthusiastic about the opportunities for the development of knowledge and understanding of the Latino communities throughout the Northeast Region and especially here in New York,” said Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera (76th District) and past chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/ Hispanic Task Force. Rivera sponsored the initial and subsequent legislative grants establishing NYLARNet in 2004. “I commend the University at Albany and researchers of the New York Latino Research and Resources Network for their dedication in the development of the Latino Political Barometer."

UAlbany Professor Jose Cruz

UAlbany's Jose Cruz, the director of NYLARNet and an associate professor of political science, directed the ground-breaking Latino Political Barometer. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

"This new survey advances our mission to undertake research on significant and cutting edge issues,"  said University at Albany Interim President George M. Philip. "It is a valuable tool for informing public policy makers on issues relating to the nation's Latino population."

"We are very pleased to have an instrument that will allow us to better understand the political culture of Latinos in New York and other states in the Northeast," said NYLARNet Director Jose Cruz, associate professor of political science at UAlbany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. "Latinos in this area have been typically invisible or misunderstood. The Barometer will help change that."

The long-term goal of the poll is to generate public opinion data and analysis on topical social, economic, and political questions from a comparative perspective, focusing on Latinos. Future UAlbany Latino Political Barometer surveys will include:

• Latino views on race relations
• Latino voting patterns
• Latino views on socioeconomic opportunities
• Latino experiences with prejudice and discrimination

The New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet) brings together the expertise of U.S. Latino Studies scholars and other professionals across institutions within New York State. Its work is focused on four target areas: Health, Education, Immigration and Politics.

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