Nation & World News

Pew: Most Latinos Can’t Name ‘Most Important Hispanic Leader’

By Eyder Peralta on October 23rd, 2013

While most Latinos believe it’s important for their community to have a national leader, most of them can’t pinpoint whom they think that leader is.

That’s the new finding from a survey released today by the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project. Survey participants were asked an open-ended question to name the person they think is “the most important Hispanic leader in the country today.”

Sixty-two percent responded they didn’t know and 9 percent said no one.

Only four leaders were named by more than 2 percent of the respondents:

– Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — the high court’s first Hispanic justice — was mentioned by 5 percent.

– Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, was named by 5 percent.

– Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was named by 3 percent.

– And Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, was named by 2 percent.

Pew explains:

“The survey was conducted at a time when Latino political leaders and civic organizations have been pressing hard for legislation in Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11.7 million immigrants, the vast majority of them Latino, who are living in this country illegally.

“Even though most Latinos say their community needs a national leader to advance its concerns, the survey finds that not all Latinos agree that their community has shared values.

“Overall, four-in-ten (39%) respondents say that U.S. Latinos of different origins share ‘a lot’ of values, while another 39% say U.S. Latinos share ‘some’ values and an additional 19% say that they share few or no values. By similar shares, Latinos living in this country are divided about how many values they share with Latinos living in their families’ country of origin.”

Of course, these findings aren’t totally surprising. Earlier this year, when the pace on immigration reform quickened, we explored the issue. We asked people who were among the thousands protesting in Washington, D.C., who was the leader of the movement. No one could come up with a name.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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