Poll: Religion Not A Factor For Latino Voters

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
December 09, 2011

PHOENIX -- Latino Decisions polled 500 Hispanic registered voters nationwide about their thoughts on religion and how it could play a role in the 2012 elections.

Among the findings: 53 percent of Latinos said religious beliefs will not sway their vote for president. And more than half of Latinos polled said they don’t care if the candidates do not share their religion.

Matt Baretto is a pollster with Latino Decisions and a political science professor at the University of Washington. He says the study is a wake-up call.

“For the Latino population, which holds strong religious beliefs, it is often times described as holding conservative social values, beliefs that are tied to Catholicism," Baretto said. "We’re finding that for Latinos, they do hold these religious view points, but they’re not expecting government to embrace religion and religiosity in policy making.”

Photo Courtesy Latino Decisions.
Matt Baretto, Ph.D, is an associate professor at the University of Washington and director of Chicano Studies at the Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity.

The poll also shows that as many as 75 percent of Hispanics are more concerned about economic issues, compared to 14 percent who said moral issues are a priority.

"They’re telling us fixing the economy, addressing education reform, addressing health care, addressing immigration (are important issues) and they’re not mentioning things like same-sex marriage or abortion," the professor said. "They see those as more private, personal issues.”

And when asked if religious leaders should tell their congregation who to vote for, 63 percent said no.

On Monday, more data is set to be made public about the attitudes of Latino voters leading up to the 2010 presidential election.