Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Latino Protestants Swing Towards Obama

A voting group that gave overwhelming support to George Bush in 2004 ,now supports the Democratic candidate.

In a year when Latinos seems to be leaning towards the Democratic party, this was a group that McCain hoped he could hold on to. They are a minority within a minority but in this year’s White House race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain they are also a sought-after swing vote.

Latino Protestant voters in the United States are swinging solidly behind Obama, according to a poll released on Thursday by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Faith in Public Life and other faith-based groups.

Its key finding: that among Latino Protestant registered voters, Obama has 50.4 percent support versus 33.6 percent for McCain. By way of contrast, President Bush by some estimates got over 60 percent of the votes cast by Latino Protestants in 2004, the main reason for Republican inroads with this ethnic group in that election. Sarah Palin was supposed to energize social conservatives to support the Republican ticket but it seems she has not connected with conservative Latinos.

Bush’s social conservatism appealed to many Latino Protestants, but the survey found that the perceived hardening of Republican views on immigration had tilted the landscape.

Close to a quarter of America’s 45 million Hispanics are Protestant, according to some estimates (most are Roman Catholic), amounting to close to a third of the Latino electorate because of demographic and other social factors. Many are concentrated in closely contested states such as New Mexico and Colorado.

The nationwide poll was conducted by SDR Consulting from Oct 1 to 7 and included 500 self-identified Hispanic Protestants . It has a margin or error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.

This coincides with polls that conclude that overall ,Latinos are leaning towards Barack Obama. Many point to the fact that Latinos have been alienated by the Republican party’s stance on immigration to explain their support of Barack Obama. However, it can also be argued that Latinos like other Americans are concerned about the economy and are unhappy with the policies of the last eight years. Perhaps Latinos like other Americans tend to prioritize their financial concerns above other issues such as abortion or gay marriage and this is why they are choosing to support the Democratic ticket this election year.