October 21st, 2009
05:00 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans more familiar with Latinos

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Latinos were once unfamiliar to more than half of all Americans, but a new national poll indicates that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed now say they have a lot or some contact with Latinos in places where they live, work or shop.

Sixty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning say they have some or a lot of contact with Latinos. That's up 15 points from 1990.

Full results (pdf)

"The jump in contact is a result of the growing number of Latinos and their growing presence in all 50 states," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But familiarity is not the same as knowledge."

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that roughly six in 10 Latinos were born in the U.S.

"But nearly half of people we questioned said they assume that Latinos who they have never met are immigrants, and one in five believe they are illegal immigrants," adds Holland.

That may be one reason why nearly nine in 10 surveyed believe that the Census should ask people whether they are in the country legally when they go door to door next April.

According to the poll, 57 percent of all Americans say that Latinos face a lot or some discrimination that hurts their chances to get good jobs. That's down 9 points from two decades ago, but is slightly higher than the 53 percent who now feel that way about job discrimination against African-Americans.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted October 16-18, with 1,038 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. justobserve

    Well, if our government and companies continue to have English and Spanish as our official languages, meaning on the leaflets or phone, then Spanish-speakers will continue to be the most-hired group of people in jobs. If you speak Spanish and English you are more likely to get the job in preference to people who speak English only or English and other language.

    October 21, 2009 07:27 am at 7:27 am |

    duh! they are everywhere!

    October 21, 2009 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  3. Chico

    Except in a lot of the GOP. Still got a lot of "splainin" to do eh Jefferson Beauregard Sessions?

    October 21, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. Motive

    pass a Corona or a XX and we can talk about anything.

    October 21, 2009 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I remember a comment that my American husband of 26 years made to me when we firt met: "God, you speak Spanish very well!". I still hear that comment to this day from some native-born Americans, as well as other Hispanics. We Latinos come in all hues. Those of us that are dark-skinned sometimes get the added "benefit" of not-so-subtle discrimination as we are perceived as African-Americans. We are the growing minority in this country, but those of us that have realized the American dream of a great career, and home ownership don't view ourselves as a minority. We instead take great pride in being part of the fabric of a country that allows you to work hard and reap the fruits of your honest efforts. I love the USA.

    October 21, 2009 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  6. sharon

    this is a good thing.

    but the satement familiar is not the same as knowledge is so true.

    Take the horrible experience of the "sweat Box" .......saga.........no one has asked the Native American community for information.....if they had they would have been told (as for years they have been), you can not take something from someone else's culture and carelessly play with something you know very little about. Mistake all the way around.
    People have been warned for decades. This person charged people......another horrible wrong. It was not run by a Native American. Wrong. Tragic results.

    When will people respect another races culture?

    Statements were issued by VERY knowledge people.
    These were not aired. No---not one. They were sent to CNN and other media outlets Nation -wide. NOT ONE.

    I hope the Latino community recieves respect.

    October 21, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  7. Wise Latina

    Has there been ANY serious, unbiased study of the recent STEEP increase in the Latino population (especially the ILLEGAL variety) and the STEEP decline in every aspect of American life?

    Just asking the obvious...

    October 21, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  8. Victim of Democratic greed

    Are we surprised by this? Come to California where we are bankrupt supporting them.

    October 21, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  9. Marie MD

    Life would be so much better if all the Spanish speaking folks would not be grouped as Latinos or Hispanics.
    From what I have gathered even though they speak the same language the cultures, vocabulary, education and lifestyles are completely different from one country to another.
    This is the same as grouping us Americans with Canadians, Australians, British citizens just we speak the same language.

    October 21, 2009 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  10. tom

    Don't make the mistake of assuming that greater familiarity will endear them to the rest of us. I grew up among them, I know better!

    October 21, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. Independent

    CNN where is the "freedom of speech?" I read in my morning paper that you aren't allowing the Latino's part in the show, where they talk about Lou Dobbs....WHY NOT???????

    October 21, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  12. JD from Moraga, CA

    What's the saying? "Familiarity breeds..." something?

    October 21, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  13. TLDSR

    The Republican Party is a disgrace and an abomination. There is something putrid about these guys and gals. The Republican Parties of past decades did not make me want to shower after I hear or see them speak on issues. I think it may have started with the Newt Gingrich Crew a few years back.

    October 21, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. Some republican guy

    The guys who do our landscaping are latinos. They're really polite, work hard and are really inexpensive. My grandbabies watch Dora the explorer too. So yeah, I'm really familiar with Latino folks. Have a nice day!

    October 21, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Growing up in Bushwick Brooklyn, a predominately hispanic community, I don't know how you suggest we are getting "familiar" with latinos. Latin Americans have been in this country for a long time.

    October 21, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  16. Mark from Louisiana

    The census workers should be working closely with ICE to report and then deport any people that are in our country illegally.

    October 21, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Obama WORST president EVER

    This is dumb.

    If you tell people in the poll that Latino means Hispanic, they recognize that they've had contact with "latinos" for years. It's just the PC group labels that have changed.

    October 21, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. T'SAH from Virginia

    Kudos for the LATINOS!!!! I welcome them, always have!! The difference between LATINOS and African Americans is that they were BORN here or MIGRATED here and we were FORCED here!!!

    They will be discriminated against – which they already are – and I believe their discrimination would not last as long as it did – and still continue to be – for African Americans. I think our COLOR hurts us and we stand out more and LATINOS can blend more easily with White America................ JUST MY OPINION and I'm not HATING!!

    KEEP IN MIND – LATINOS and AFRICAN AMERICANS together, would definitely be the MAJORITY!!! But it should not matter who is the MAJORITY because we are all AMERICANS!!

    October 21, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. Tom

    They make Walmart their base of operations.

    October 21, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  20. Me, MN

    The results of the poll show just how ignorant people can be. Hello people! The entire southwest is made up of Hispanics. US born and raised Americans going back several generations. And sometimes they want to move out of Arizona or California to North Dakota or Illinois. Do these people want to go ask actress Eva Longoria-Parker for a green card? Get off of your front porches once in a while and get a different view of life.

    October 21, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. dale

    It's because we don't enforce our laws. And that's the governments fault. Of course we are getting use to them, we don't have a choice with the bozo's we have running things

    October 21, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. Island girl

    This is not a surprise. Didn't the Census Bureau predict that the Latino population will be the largest ethnic race in about 40 or so years? I could expand on this a bit more but all I can say to those who laughed at Pres. Obama's suggestion to learn Spanish is that you will be crying when your children are unable to get jobs requiring bi-lingual skills.

    In another story CNN reports that Latinos may be the future of the Catholic Church. Pardon me, but they are already there. People need to remember that most Latin Americans are Catholic and still cling to their religion while other ethnic members of this church are on the decline for different reasons. Ladies and gentlemen, in my church there are times when names of young men are presented to us for prayer as they enter the priesthood and these names are no longer Irish or Italian in nature.

    October 21, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |