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MEMORANDUM

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler Latino Victory Project Executive Director Mayra Macías

DATE: September 27, 2019

SUBJECT: Giffords & Latino Victory Project: Research Shows Texas Latinos Want Action on Gun Violence Reform and Feel Attacked By President Trump’s Rhetoric


 

Following the nation’s largest terrorist attack targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, Giffords and Latino Victory partnered to host a series of community events throughout the state of Texas to raise awareness in the Latino community about the growing threats of gun violence and anti-Latino hate. The ¡YA BASTA! Latinos Rise Against Gun Violence and Hate tour hosted a series of events in El Paso, Dallas and Houston where community leaders and elected officials came together to discuss what can be done to make Latino communities safer from gun violence.

As part of the partnership, Giffords and Latino Victory also sponsored an in-depth research project to better understand Texas Latino voter opinions following the El Paso and Midland-Odessa mass shootings. The quantitative research was conducted via an online poll of Latino voters across the state and the qualitative research was conducted through focus groups of Latino voters living in Texas’ 23rd congressional district.

STATEWIDE POLL FINDINGS

This survey uncovered a highly motivated Hispanic/Latino electorate in Texas for whom the intersection of gun violence and anti-Latino racism is a significant concern, who believe hate crimes have increased in recent years and that their community is a target, and who identify gun violence and stronger gun laws among the top issues influencing how they will vote in 2020. The majority of Latino voters surveyed also hold President Trump responsible for the increase in anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric.

The survey examined public opinions of Texas Hispanics/Latinos centered on the intersection of gun violence, hate and motivations to vote. The findings come from 1,022 interviews of registered Texas voters (includes currently registered voters and those who stated that they would register to vote before the 2020 election), with interviews conducted between September 6 and 13, 2019 and after both the El Paso (August 1) and Midland–Odessa (August 31) mass shootings.

NOTABLE TAKEAWAYS

Gun violence, racism, hate and President Trump 
  • 81% of the respondents expressed concern at the threat of gun violence, driven by racism.

  • 82% of respondents reported holding President Trump partly responsible for the increase in anti-immigrant, anti-Latino language.

  • 72% of respondents agreed that President Trump had made life more difficult for the Latino population living in the United States.

  • 74% of Latino voters in Texas feel that there has been an increase in hate crimes in recent years.

Gun violence reform
  • 80% of respondents agreed that stricter gun laws are necessary. More than half of respondents stated that they felt gun laws should be significantly stricter.

  • Only 5% of the respondents were of the view that gun laws should be less strict.

  • 61% of respondents agree with the following statement: The NRA (National Rifle Association) has too much influence on gun legislation in the United States.

El Paso Shooting
  • 80% of respondents said they felt personally affected by the shooting in El Paso with an even greater percentage (83%) expressing concern that other Latino communities might be targeted in similar attacks.

    • Again, women(86%) were more likely to say they felt personally affected by the shooting than men (73%).

  • 83% of respondents said they are concerned that other Latino communities might be targeted for similar attacks.

  • 85% of respondents agreed with the statement: shooting like these will continue to happen unless a change is made.

Voting and Important Issues
  • 88% of respondents stated that they intended to vote in the 2020 election with a high proportion (72%) saying they would definitely vote.

  • 52% said they felt significantly more motivated to vote in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, compared with how they had felt in 2016.

  • 59% of respondents stated that the issue of mass shootings and the need for strengthening gun laws will be one of the seminal issues influencing their vote.

    • When asked to prioritize the top three issues for them in the 2020 election:

      • 50% Health care

      • 40% Gun violence

      • 38% Immigration

      • 28% Education

      • 27% Racism and anti-immigration attitudes

Representation 
  • Over 60% of Texas Latinos feel that there are not enough Hispanic/Latino representatives in U.S. politics

  • 69% believe decisions politicians make an impact on their lives directly.

  • Only 17% believe that politicians care about their views

TX-23 FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS

Latinos are tired of bearing the brunt of Trump’s consistently anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. Concerns about gun violence are deeply entwined with worry that Trump inspires anti-Latino sentiment and violence. Many describe feeling they have to think “in survival mode” now because guns are easily available, and “Trump put a target on our backs.” Enthusiasm to vote in 2020 is driven in part by the strong desire to replace Trump, but voters are also paying attention to candidate policy positions on gun violence (universal background checks, banning assault rifles), immigration, and health care.

Latino Decisions conducted two focus groups groups on behalf of Giffords and Latino Victory with Latino registered voters on August 28th; one in Spanish and one in English. All participants live in Texas 23rd Congressional District.

NOTABLE TAKEAWAYS 

  • Participants share the view that Trump has emboldened racists and is responsible for increased discrimination and violence directed at Latinos.

  • They are fearful of racist violence that targets their families and communities, especially in light of the recent mass shooting in El Paso.

  • Universal background checks and banning assault rifles were unanimously supported. By the end of the session, 12 of the 16 said gun violence was a priority issue for them going into the 2020 election.

  • These voters are tired of inaction on gun violence and weak response following mass shootings.

  • The Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrants at the border, particularly children, is viewed as inhumane and motivated by his antipathy for Latinos.

  • They feel a real kinship with immigrants, even those who are several generations removed from the immigrant experience. Their personal relationships and cultural ties run deep.

  • These voters hold Republican elected officials responsible, for going along with Trump, and creating a hostile or even dangerous climate for Latinos.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE STATEWIDE POLL MEMO

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FOCUS GROUPS MEMO