NEW POLL: Majority of Latino Voters in California Support Clean Energy Investments in the Build Back Better Act to Create Jobs and Fight the Climate Crisis
A new poll from BSP Research and Climate Power shows that acting on climate is a priority for Latinos in California who see the climate investments in the Build Back Better Act as a key way to make progress on top political issues.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – An overwhelming majority (92%) of Latino voters in key California districts (CA-21, CA-25, CA-39, and CA-48) think Congress and President Biden taking climate action should be an important priority for this year. According to a new poll from BSP Research and Climate Power, Latino voters in key California districts and across the country want to see the Build Back Better Agenda passed, which includes clean energy tax credits and environmental justice policies. While the climate investments in the Build Back Better Act are still being debated in Congress, California Latinos made clear that they want to see President Biden’s climate agenda enacted to create thousands of jobs across the state, lower energy costs, and protect the community from pollution and climate change.
Latinos in California are living with the impacts of the climate crisis now: from working in dangerous and deadly extreme heat, to paying higher energy costs, to living in areas with some of the worst air pollution in the state. According to the American Lung Association, 90% of California’s Latino population lives in a county that received a failing grade for ozone air pollution. This month, Latino’s in California’s 48th district also faced devastation from a major spill off the Orange County coast which spewed at least 126,000 gallons of toxic crude oil across beaches, killing fish and birds, threatening local wetlands and public health, and exacerbating the already prevalent impacts of the climate crisis in California. This reality has made climate change a key issue for Latino voters in key districts across the state.
Sixty-three percent of Latino voters in key California districts think that extreme weather events are a direct result of climate change, and 73% say the situation is getting worse each year. Climate change is also a big issue for Latino’s at the polls — it holds nearly as great of importance as the DREAM Act in terms of issues that determine their vote. Fifty-three percent of California Latino voters in key district said they would not support a candidate who opposed national legislation to address and reduce climate change even if they agreed with them on other issues. This is on par with how many (52%) say a candidate opposing the DREAM act would be a dealbreaker.
Even though climate change impacts all of us, decades of environmental injustice have put the greatest burden on communities of color. Latinos are the most exposed and the least likely to recover after an extreme weather event. This is why the Build Back Better Act resonates so strongly in the community — it shows a clear path forward to mitigate climate change through a strong clean energy economy, while making strides towards environmental justice and protecting communities of color from toxic pollution.
Latinos are one of the groups that will benefit the most from these bold climate and clean energy investments. Nationally, Latino households have a median energy burden (24%) greater than white households. California has massive potential for energy cost savings if utilities harness the abundant power of the state’s solar resources. With the clean energy investments included in the Build Back Better Act, California could harness these resources and save households on their energy bills. This expansion of clean energy would boost job creation in this sector and provide jobs for Latinos, who already make up 20% of workers in the wind and solar industries.
Here are some key takeaways from the poll released today:
- 79% of Latino voters in key California districts believe climate change is a very serious problem, with 37% calling it a crisis.
- California Latino voters in key districts are most concerned about more frequent and more severe wildfires (30%), followed by more extreme heat and longer heatwaves (21%), and longer and more extreme droughts (19%).
- 82% of Latino voters in key California districts believe that it is important for Congress to pass legislation to build a clean energy economy that protects Latino communities from pollution and climate change.
- 90% of Latino voters in key California districts believe that it is important for Congress to pass legislation that brings on a better clean energy economy and many jobs for the Latino community.
- 84% of Latino voters in key California districts believe that it is important for Congress to pass legislation that reduces extreme weather, fires, droughts, and hurricanes, which have made it harder for their families to work and earn a living.
- COVID is the most important issue for Latinos. Decades of exposure to pollution left Latinos more vulnerable to serious illness and death during the pandemic. Latinos understand the connection between health and environmental injustice first hand.
- That is why protecting the health of their families by reducing toxic pollution in the air and water is a key reason 85% of Latino voters in key California districts believe Congress should pass this legislation.
- 86% of Latino voters in key California districts support legislation that creates millions of additional clean energy jobs in fast-growing industries like wind and solar.
- 87% of Latino voters in key California districts support legislation to make oil and gas companies pay their fair share for the pollution they create.
- 88% of Latino voters in key California districts support legislation that would reward electric utilities that generate more electricity from clean energy sources, like wind and solar.
- 84% of Latino voters in key California districts support legislation to make electric vehicles more affordable for consumers by providing tax rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles.
- 87% of Latino voters in key California districts support legislation to lower energy costs by making homes, schools, buildings, and vehicles more energy efficient.
Latinos in California are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and the Build Back Better Act would go a long way to protect families, communities, and jobs from the extremes of climate change.
The Build Back Better Act includes transformational clean energy tax incentives as well as key environmental justice provisions, including climate justice block grants to reduce pollution in frontline communities; cleanup of superfund sites; investments in healthy ports; a Civilian Climate Corps, and more. With the Build Back Better Act, Congress has a historic opportunity to create thousands of good paying jobs, boost household income, and reduce pollution in Latino communities.