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Latinas With Access to Internet More Politically Active

New America Media, News Report, Carolyn Ji Jong Goossen, Video Ann Bassette and Carolyn Ji Jong Goossen, Posted: Oct 15, 2009

New Media and the Latina from New America Media on Vimeo.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Latina voters with access to the Internet and new media are much more likely to be politically and civically involved, according to a new poll released earlier this month by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE).

The poll debunks the myths about our community, said Helen Iris Torres, executive director of HOPE. One million Latinas have access to the Internet. This is an opportunity to provide them with information that they are interested in.

The poll, conducted in English and Spanish, interviewed 500 registered Latina voters in California.

The poll found that 56 percent of registered Latina voters are plugged in to new media, and regularly access the Internet and social media Web sites. There is a clear language and education divide when it comes to Internet usage. Seventy-one percent of English- speaking Latinas regularly go online, compared to 41 percent of Spanish-speakers. College graduates are also much more likely to be online than those with a high school diploma or less.

The poll offers new information about a trend that will only continue to grow, said pollster Sergio Bendixen of Bendixen & Associates, which conducted the survey. The major finding is that access to the Internet is probably the most important catalyst for civic engagement of Latinas in California, said Bendixen.

Its going to be a wake-up call to policymakers, advocates and others on how to really work with this community, said Tessie Guillermo, president of ZeroDivide, which helped fund the poll.

The poll findings include:

-Latina voters are overwhelmingly Democratic (68 percent, versus 14 percent who are Republican).

-Approximately one-third of Latina voters use their cell phone for text messaging. (Fifty percent of English-speaking Latinas use texting, compared to only 14 percent of Spanish speakers.)

-Only six percent of Latina voters with access to the Internet use social networking sites. Young Latinas (18 to 34) are three times more likely to access these sites.

-Latina voters of all ages and language backgrounds trust their community and neighborhood leaders much more than elected officials.

-Seventy-two percent of mothers who have children under 18 living at home go online, regardless of their language background.

-Ninety percent of Latina voters support measures that mandate that all high schools in California offer classes to prepare students for college.

-Seventeen percent of Latinas with access to the Internet read blogs.

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