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Latinos Resemble Other Americans in Preferences for US Foreign Policy

RESEARCH Public Opinion Survey by Dina Smeltz and Craig Kafura
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This report finds that US Latinos prioritize protecting jobs, favor strong leadership abroad, rank terrorism as a critical threat, and support US military superiority.

Introduction

Like the overall public, US Latinos prioritize protecting jobs, favor strong US leadership abroad, rank terrorism as a critical threat, and support US military superiority. —though key differences exist.

Key Findings

When it comes to views on US foreign policy, Hispanic Americans share a very similar worldview with other Americans, according to a new Chicago Council report. The United States will be 30 percent Latino by the year 2050, as new immigrants—the majority from Latin America—and their children and grandchildren comprise 80 percent of the country’s growth. This report debunks the perception that this demographic change will lead to a change to the face of American foreign policy. It also finds that like the overall public, US Latinos prioritize protecting jobs, favor strong US leadership abroad, rank terrorism as a critical threat, and support US military superiority—though key differences exist. The polling results come after a week of immigration making national and local headlines, with an injunction in Texas and a budget crisis in Illinois challenging the implementation of President Obama’s executive action.

Methodology

This report is based on the results of a survey commissioned by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The 2014 edition of the survey is the latest effort in a series of wide-ranging biennial surveys on American attitudes towards US foreign policy. The survey was conducted May 6-29, 2014, among a representative national sample of 2,108 adults, including an oversample of 311 Hispanic respondents for a total of 498 Hispanic respondents. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is ±2.5, including a design effect of 1.46. For the Hispanic sample, the margin of error is ±5.3, including the design effect. When making comparisons between results for the Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups, the required difference for statistical significance is 6.1 percentage points.

The survey was conducted by GfK Custom Research, a polling, social science, and market research firm in Palo Alto, California. The survey was fielded to a total of 3,905 panel members, including 759 in the Hispanic oversample, yielding a total of 2,243 completed surveys. Of the total completes, 1,914 were from the main sample (a completion rate of 61%) and 339 were from the Hispanic oversample (a completion rate of 45%). The median survey length was 37 minutes.

About the Authors
Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
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Dina Smeltz, a polling expert, has more than 25 years of experience designing and fielding international social and political surveys. Prior to joining the Council to lead its annual survey of American attitudes on US foreign policy, she served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department's Office of Research from 1992 to 2008.
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Director of Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
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Craig Kafura is the director of public opinion and foreign policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, and a Pacific Forum Young Leader. At the Council, he coordinates work on public opinion and foreign policy and is a regular contributor to the public opinion and foreign policy blog Running Numbers.
headshot of Craig Kafura