Hispanics' Worries: Jobs, Terror

The first major poll of Hispanics since they were declared the nation's largest minority shows them more concerned about losing their jobs than non-Hispanics in the U.S. And while they see the economy as the nation's top problem, Hispanics are also more likely than non-Hispanics to worry about terrorism and the war when asked what the country's number-one trouble is.

According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, one-third of Hispanics say the economy is the most pressing concern facing the nation (compared to 39 percent of non-Hispanics), and 14 percent answered that terrorism was the biggest problem (7 percent of non-Hispanics answered terrorism).

Although Hispanics are somewhat more optimistic than non-Hispanics about the condition of the economy, they are much more worried than non-Hispanics about the job market. Over 70 percent of Hispanics are concerned that they or someone else in their household will lose their job in the next year (compared with 44 percent of non-Hispanics), and Hispanics are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanics to say they are very concerned.

CONCERN ABOUT LOSING JOB IN THE NEXT YEAR

Concerned

72%
Hispanics

44%
Non-Hispanics

Not Concerned

29%
Hispanics

56%
Non-Hispanics

These job fears seem to be hitting especially hard at the lower end of the income ladder: More than half of Hispanics live in households that earn under $30,000 per year, and 76 percent of them are concerned about a job loss in their household (compared to 59 percent of those with incomes above $30,000).

Some 81 percent of foreign-born Hispanics (including those born in Puerto Rico) are concerned about their own or a family member's future employment. Those who do not speak English well are especially concerned: 86 percent of those who took the survey in Spanish, most of whom do not speak English well, were worried about a job loss.

Six in ten Hispanics surveyed are employed, the same proportion as non-Hispanics. Eighteen percent of Hispanics are out of work; another 22 percent are not in the job market. Three quarters of Hispanic men are currently employed, compared with 44 percent of Hispanic women. Among non-Hispanics, 64 percent of men (and 55 percent of women) say they are currently employed.

Hispanics give President Bush roughly the same marks for handling his job and the economy as non-Hispanics do (52 percent job approval rating to 54 percent), but only 40 percent of Hispanics - registered voters or not - approve of the president's handling of the economy, the same rating as non-Hispanic registered voters.

BUSH APPROVAL RATINGS
Overall

52%
Hispanics

54%
Non-Hispanics

Foreign Policy

52%
Hispanics

53%
Non-Hispanics

Economy

40%
Hispanics

40%
Non-Hispanics

As for party identification, Hispanics are more solidly Democrat: 52 percent of Hispanics who are registered to vote identified themselves as Democrats, compared to 19 percent who said they are Republicans. Twenty-three percent declared themselves independent.

Many Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike are as yet undecided about their 2004 Presidential vote, but as of now, Hispanic voters are more likely to choose any unnamed Democratic candidate over the President, while non-Hispanics opt for Mr. Bush. Twenty-one percent of Hispanic registered voters say they would vote for Mr. Bush in 2004, while 31 percent say they would vote for a Democratic candidate. Thirty-two percent of non-Hispanics would re-elect Bush and 26 percent would select a Democrat.

WHO WOULD YOU VOTE FOR IN 2004?
(Among Registered Voters)

Bush

21%
Hispanics

32%
Non-Hispanics

Democratic candidate

31%
Hispanics

26%
Non-Hispanics

Don't know yet

45%
Hispanics

40%
Non-Hispanics

Hispanics view the Democratic party more favorably than the Republican party on many domestic issues, but their views are closer to Republicans' on issues like gay marriage, school vouchers and tax cuts. And while many candidates on both sides are trying to learn to speak Spanish, that doesn't matter to most Hispanic voters: 75 percent of Hispanic voters say it would not make a difference to their vote whether or not a candidate speaks Spanish.

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