World

Latino Leader? Slim Pickings, a Study Finds

This undated image released by the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009 shows Justice Sonia Sotomayor is seen in her official portrait. (AP Photo/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Steve Petteway)

This undated image released by the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009 shows Justice Sonia Sotomayor is seen in her official portrait. (AP Photo/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Steve Petteway)  (AP2009)

Less than two weeks after landmark victories on Election Day, Latinos nationwide still have very few people they consider leaders, a survey released Monday found.

When asked to name the most important Latino leader in the country, 64 percent of respondents to a Pew Hispanic Center poll said they did not know. The next highest response, 10 percent, was no one, the study found.

Beyond that, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the favorite among respondents. Seven percent of the 1,375 who were interviewed said she was the most important Latino leader in the country.

Five percent of the respondents picked Congressman Luís Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois, 3 percent voted for Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and 2 percent believed Univisión television anchor Jorge Ramos was their leader, the study found.

No one else was named by more than 1 percent of the interviewees.

The telephone survey, which has a 3.3 percent margin of error, was conducted from August 17 to September 19. 

Still, the overwhelming majority, even in tough economic times and under a barrage of anti-immigrant rhetoric, felt leaderless. Not even the dramatic victories by New Mexico governor-elect Susana Martínez, Nevada governor-elect Brian Sandoval or Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio inspired support from the respondents.

"The prominence of these offices conceivably could provide platforms from which any of the three could emerge as national Latino leaders, but to do so they would have to overcome some strong partisan head winds," the study said.

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