By their own reckoning, Latinos living in the United States do not have a national leader. When asked in an open-ended question to name the person they consider "the most important Latino leader in the country today," nearly two-thirds (64%) of Hispanic respondents said they did not know. An additional 10% said "no one."
These findings emerge from a bilingual national survey of 1,375 Latino adults conducted prior to this month's mid-term elections by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
Sonia Sotomayor, appointed last year to the U.S. Supreme Court, was the most frequently named individual with some 7% of respondents saying she is the most important Latino leader in the country. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) of Chicago is next at 5%, followed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at 3%, and Jorge Ramos, an anchor on Noticiero Univision, the national evening news program on the Spanish-language television network Univision, at 2%. No one else was named by more than 1% of respondents.
The survey also explored the subject of leadership in the Latino community in another way. Respondents were presented with the names of eight prominent Latinos and asked if they had heard of each. Those who said they had were then asked if they considered that person to be a leader.
Of the eight names presented, Sotomayor received the highest leadership score: 45% of respondents considered her a leader. Ramos is next at 38%, followed by Villaraigosa at 29% and Guitierrez at 23%. No one else on the list had a score above 20%.
The report, "National Latino Leader? The Job is Open," was authored by Paul Taylor, Director, Pew Hispanic Center, and Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center, and is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website.