July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the Democratic presidential candidates prepare to debate tonight, a new poll released today shows that a candidate's position on education will have a greater impact on Latino voters than their position on any other issue -- including immigration and health care -- and that Latinos are nearly unanimous that improving public education should be a "very important priority" for the next president. The poll surveyed 1,026 registered Latino voters.
"The Latino community is increasingly showing its desire to help shape the future of our country at the ballot box," said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. and steering committee member for ED in '08, a nonpartisan campaign to raise awareness of education issues in the 2008 presidential race campaign. "What this poll makes clear is that Latinos believe the key to our future is improving the quality of public school education and will vote for the candidate with the best comprehensive plan to do that."
"Presidential candidates have been largely silent about our failure to give our children the skills to be ready to succeed in college, career and life," said Roy Romer, Chairman of ED in '08, "If the presidential candidates want to respond to the priorities of Latinos and demonstrate they are ready to be president, they can start tonight by talking about their plans to get our children ready to succeed in college, career and life."
Other Key Findings in this poll include:
-- Latino voters consider the high dropout rate among Latino students to be the greatest educational problem for the Latino community in the U.S.
-- Half of those surveyed declared that they considered the quality of public schools to be "mediocre" or "poor."
-- While generally rating teachers positively, more than 80% of the Latino electorate feels that one way to improve public education in America is to hire more teachers with expertise in the subjects they will teach.
The poll was co-sponsored by ED in '08 and the National Council of La Raza and released at the NCLR's annual convention in Miami.