Survey Dispels Notion of Hispanic Cohesion

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MOST of the 17 million United States residents of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban heritage do not identify themselves as part of one large Hispanic community, said a survey released Dec. 15.

And while they share a common agenda on a variety of domestic issues, Hispanics do not constitute a unified voting bloc, the Latino National Political Survey found. And Hispanics also do not support increased immigration.

"Our findings challenge the notion of a distinct US Hispanic community with shared cultural, political, and economic interests," said lead researcher Rodolfo de la Garza, a community-affairs professor at the University of Texas in Austin.

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"While the results suggest that there may be a basis for a national Latino political community, they also make clear that it will not spring primarily from a shared cultural heritage," Professor de la Garza said.

The findings were gleaned from interviews with 2,817 Latinos and 598 non-Latinos over an eight-month period in 1989 and 1990.

The survey is touted as the first nationwide examination of the political values and attitudes of US residents of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban descent. The research project was funded by the Ford, Rockefeller, Spencer, and Tinker foundations.

More Latinos identify themselves as moderates or conservatives than as liberals. But a majority of them espouse liberal thinking when it comes to government intervention and increased spending for domestic programs, the researchers found.

The survey also found little interaction between Hispanics of different origin. Most reported little or no contact with individuals from other Latino national-origin groups.

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