Moral issues rank very low in Latino Voter’s minds when making a voting decision while issues like the economy, jobs, taxes and minimum wage are far more important, a new poll released today shows.
That finding totally contradicts the famous Ronald Reagan belief, said in the eighties, that “Hispanics are Republicans. They just don’t know it yet.”
Since Reagan famously said that to political advisor Lionel Sosa, most republicans who say they want Latinos in the Republican Party insist that they are “naturals” to join the party because of their conservative philosophy family and religion and their entrepreneurial spirit. Today’s Republicans are still repeating this as if it were a sacrament but it s not turning out that way in the voting booth.
This poll of Latino voters by ImpreMedia and Latino Decisions shows why: the majority (53%) of these citizens said their own religion does not have much influence on which candidate they choose, while 40% said it does. Also they maintain that the candidate’s religion is just as irrelevant for 55% of them, compared to 43% who do take it into account.
Although the numbers dont appear as far apart, they become clearer when broken down: Only 23% said their religion has a “big impact,” while 19% said the candidate’s religion has a big impact. The only exception is among Latinos who are part of the GOP, since 47% said their religion does have a big impact on their election choices.
“It’s always been said that Latinos have a conflict between their religion and their political tendencies. That they’re usually more progressive on economic policy but conservative on social issues,” said Matt Barreto, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and advisor to Latino Decisions.
However, Barreto said the poll reflects no such conflict: “Religion and social and moral values are not among their priorities when they make their political and election calculations.”
The poll confirmed that Latino voters place little or no importance on traditional moral issues when voting: 75% think the economy, jobs and taxes are much more important in politics. Only 14% said moral or social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage or family values are more important.
Ironically, this is true for many categories of Latino voters, including Democrats, Republicans and independents; U.S. born and naturalized citizens; various socioeconomic levels; those who attend church weekly and those who are “born again.” Economic issues rule.
On the other hand, there are moral issues on which Latinos agree, and which can incidentally have an impact on their political stance–and immigration is one of them.
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