LOS ANGELES - In spite of the efforts mounted by several conservative campaigns to attract the votes of Hispanic Christians, the preferences of population segments like the Latino Catholics lean toward the Democrats. At least this is the indication of a new study published, which elucidates, as well, the dilemma facing evangelicals when they speak of immigration.
"Vote Your Values" – that was the slogan of the campaign that traveled through more than 42 cities in California, to support the U.S. Senate candidacy of Carly Fiorina. The intention, without a doubt, was to make a connection between Hispanics and Republicans on the issues of "values."
This was one of several initiatives in which conservative movements and groups have tried to capture the Hispanic vote, in the midst of the much-noted disenchantment among this segment of the electorate with the Democrats, when the subject turns to their achievements in areas like immigration.
Nevertheless, the figures in the new report published by the Public Religion Research Institute seem to show that these efforts have not had great impact, at least not among Latino Catholics.
The study showed that in areas of the country where U.S. religious voters present extreme differences, Latino Catholics behave in a dissimilar manner. For example, in answer to the question whether they would vote for candidates who support abortion rights, 56 percent of Hispanics said it made no difference. This compares with 34 percent among all religious groups.
When it comes to same-sex marriage, 46 percent of Hispanics favor this option, compared to 37 percent of all religious voters.
To take this even further, Robert Jones, director of the Public Religion Research Institute, assured La Opinión that "there is no doubt that Hispanic Catholics favor the Democrats. The figures indicate that seven of 10 lean toward that party," he explained.
"Certainly campaigns that call on people to vote their values have an effect, but our data indicate that these are not the issues that are determining preferences in this election," he added.
According to figures from the United States Conference of Catholic Archbishops, 68 percent of Latinos are Catholic. In the 2008 elections, Democrats were preferred by 48 percent of Hispanics eligible to vote.
On the other hand, this study did show differences when it came to characteristics of Hispanic Catholics in comparison to the rest of their religious community. Some 67 percent of the former agree that one of the main problems in the country is that there is no equal access to opportunities. This compares with only 48 percent of Caucasian Catholics who hold the same opinion. These two groups also present differences when they are asked about small government, and categorizing the United States as a Christian nation.