According to a poll that was recently released by the Pew organization, Latinos -- regardless of political affiliation -- cite improving the educational system, defending the country from future terrorist attacks, and strengthening the economy as top priorities for the Trump administration to address. Reducing healthcare costs was the next issue in line that Latinos believe should be addressed, while immigration issues ranked dead last overall.
 
Latinos and the general population of the United States share some of the same priorities. For example, about three-quarters of Latinos (73%) say improving the educational system should be a top priority for Trump and Congress this year. The other priorities include include defending the country from future terrorist attacks (69%) and strengthening the nation’s economy (66%). A smaller share of Latinos say reducing health care costs (54%) should be a top priority, while  immigration is the lowest-rated issue for Latinos among those questioned. Less than half (46%) say immigration should be a top priority.
 
In the general public,  a Pew Research Center survey from January found that 76% say defending the country from future terrorist attacks should be a top priority, while 73% say the same of strengthening the nation’s economy. Other top priorities include improving the educational system (69%), improving the job situation (68%) and reducing healthcare costs (66%). Dealing with the issue of immigration is rated lower, with 43% saying it should be a top priority for Trump and Congress in 2017 – similar to the share of Hispanics with this view.
 
Immigration was not a top issue among Latinos in past Pew Research Center surveys. The the fall of 2016, of Latinos surveyed 87% rated education as “very important” to their vote, followed by the economy (81%), health care (80%), immigration (72%), terrorism (71%), how Hispanics are treated (71%) and gun policy (59%). When Barack Obama was taking office in 2009, 57% of Latinos said the economy was an “extremely important” issue facing his administration. It was followed by education (51%), health care (45%), national security (43%), the environment (33%), immigration (31%) and energy policy (20%).
 
In addition, priorities for immigrant Latinos and those born in the United States appear to be similar to each other. Education is seen as a top priority by both groups, for example, as are the economy and terrorism.
 
Latino issue priorities by political party affiliation
 
While there are no partisan differences among Hispanics when it comes to the relative importance of health care, immigration and education as national priorities, Republican, Democratic and independent Latinos do place differing degrees of emphasis on national security and the economy. About eight-in-ten Latino Republicans (82%) say defending the nation against future terrorist attacks should be a top priority for Trump and Congress in 2017, compared with 70% of Latino Democrats and 65% of Latino independents who say the same.
 
When asked about strengthening the nation’s economy, 83% of Latino Republicans say it should be a top priority, followed by 70% of Latino Democrats and 61% of Latino independents. On improving the educational system, about three-fourths of Latino Republicans (74%),  Democrats (75%) and  independents (73%) say it should be a top priority. According to Pew, regardless of political party affiliation, Latinos place a lower emphasis on immigration than on some other issues. About half of Latino Republicans (53%) say dealing with the issue of immigration should be a top priority for Trump and Congress, as do 45% of Latino Democrats and 46% of Latino independents.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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