Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

New America Media goes polling ' in six languages

Feb. 9, 2010, 9:30 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Annette Fuentes is Managing Editor at New American Media, New America Media a news service in collaboration with over 2,000 ethnic and immigrant news media organizations and is partially funded by the Knight Foundation.

In a historic first, New America Media (NAM) has partnered with The Field Poll, a nonpartisan, media-sponsored public opinion news service, to produce the first-ever voter survey in English and five other languages.

The survey focuses on voter opinions on California and the national economy; the Schwarzenegger and Obama administrations; and their views on race relations in California, whose population is now majority Latino, Asian and African American.

Reaching those diverse groups, especially Asian Americans, demanded a new, multilingual approach to polling. So after many years of discussion, NAM Executive Director Sandy Close and The Field Poll vice president Mark DiCamillo launched the ground-breaking voter survey, which polled voters in Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Spanish and English. They both anticipate this will be the first of many multilingual polls to come.

'By conducting additional interviews among [California's] ethnic voters in many of our 2010 statewide surveys, The Field Poll hopes to provide policy makers and the public with a more complete picture of the state's changing electorate," DiCamillo said.

NAM Executive Director Sandy Close agreed: 'In a state where 40 percent of residents speak languages other than English, public opinion isn't measurable or truly "public" unless you poll in languages other than English.'

NAM has commissioned multilingual polls since 2002, including another historic first ' a poll of immigrant women from Latin America (including Haiti), Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

On Jan. 27, NAM was back in Miami to release the findings of its most recent poll of Haitian Americans in the wake of the tragic earthquake that devastated their homeland. That poll, conducted by Bendixen Associates, interviewed 400 respondents in English or in Creole, depending on their language of preference. Its findings, including the fact that a large majority of Haitian Americans distrust the government of Pres. Rene Preval, prompted the Haitian president to respond to the allegations.

You can read more about NAM's polls at NewAmericaMedia.org.