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Latino Daily News

Saturday December 10, 2011

Majority of Latino Voters Say Religion has No Impact on Voting Preferences

Majority of Latino Voters Say Religion has No Impact on Voting Preferences

Photo: Hispanic vote 2012

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impreMedia, the leading Hispanic news and information company, announced today the results of a national tracking poll focused on religion and social values.

The survey was conducted by impreMedia and Latino Decisions between November and early December. The poll revealed that a majority of Latino voters, 53%, stated that religion does not have an impact on their voting preference, while 40% of respondents indicated that it does have an impact. However, when voters are broken down among parties, religion plays a much larger role for Latino Republicans, with 47% indicating that religion does make an impact on their electoral decisions.

When asked if the candidate’s religion had an impact on their vote, 55% of respondents said that it had no impact at all; compared to 43% who believed it does have an impact.
The results further indicate that social and moral values are not top priorities among Latino voters.

Overwhelmingly 75% of respondents indicated that the economy, jobs and taxes are among the crucial issues that are important to them, while only 14% indicated social values issues such as abortion, family values and same sex marriage are important.

―These results make clear that this election will not be a referendum on moral issues even though much is being made about the religious beliefs of some of the leading candidates. Latinos continue to be overwhelmingly concerned about jobs, the economy and immigration,‖ said Monica Lozano, CEO of impreMedia.

On the topic of immigration, the survey indicates a clear support for churches and religious leaders who support undocumented immigrants. Sixty-six percent of Latino voters indicated that churches should help illegal immigrants, while 21% opposed. When the respondents are broken down between US born and foreign-born Latinos, the survey found that 75% of US born Latino citizens supported church assistance for undocumented immigrants while 56% of those that are foreign born supported the view.
These voters in general, want church and electoral politics separate, a majority of 63% indicated that no religious leader, minister or rabbi should tell them which candidate to vote for.

When asked about President Obama’s religion stance, 48% of Latino voters indicated that they did not know his religion. Fifty-eight percent of voters indicated the same response when asked about Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

―It does not seem that at this point, Latino voters are interested in religious preference of candidates; what matters to them are issues that have been central since the beginning‖, said Matt Barreto, Latino Decisions.

The survey further revealed that Latino voters have a vague view on Mormonism, with 58% indicated that they are not familiar, 27% are a little familiar and 13% are very familiar. Mormonism is a topic that is likely to be relevant in the general election if Romney is the Republican nominee.

Forty percent of Latino voters stated that Mormonism is not a Christian religion, and 31% say that it is and 27% say that they do not know. The results indicate that religion does not seem to have a determinant effect on the Latino vote. It is not clear if it could have a negative effect on Latino voters that are Republican or Independents.
A sampling of results is below:

• When thinking about who to vote for in next year’s election, how much will your religious beliefs shape your vote? Would you say they will have a big impact, a small impact, or no effect at all on who you vote for?

o Big impact: 23% (25% U.S. Born/20% Foreign born)
o Small impact: 17% (17% U.S. Born/17% Foreign born)
o No impact at all : 53% (50% U.S. Born/58% Foreign born)
o Don’t know : 5% (8% U.S. Born/3% Foreign born)

• How about the CANDIDATE’S beliefs? How important is it that a candidate shares your same religious beliefs in deciding whether or not you vote for them? Would you say that a CANDIDATE’S belief will have a big impact, or no effect on who you vote for?

o Big impact: 19% (24% U.S. Born/14% Foreign born)
o Small impact: 24% (16% U.S. Born/31% Foreign born)
o No impact at all : 55% (56% U.S. Born/54% Foreign born)
o Don’t know : 3% (5% U.S. Born/1% Foreign born)

• How familiar would you say you are with the religious beliefs of the Mormon faith, also called the ―Latter-Day Saints Church‖? Would you say you are very familiar, somewhat familiar, not very familiar, or not at all familiar with Mormonism?

o Very familiar: 13% (10% U.S. Born/17% Foreign born)
o Somewhat familiar: 27% (19% U.S. Born/34% Foreign born)
o Not very familiar : 14% (10% U.S. Born/19% Foreign born)
o Not at all familiar: 44% (59% U.S. Born/29% Foreign born)

• Based on what you have read or heard about Mormons, Do you think their religion is a Christian religion, or do you think it is not a Christian religion?

o Is a Christian religion: 31% (26% U.S. Born/36% Foreign born)
o Is not a Christian religion: 40% (38% U.S. Born/39% Foreign born)
o Don’t know: 27% (33% U.S. Born/22% Foreign born)

• How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement: It is a good thing when religious leaders—priests, ministers, preachers and rabbis—tell their members which candidate they should vote for.

o Strongly agree: 6% (8% U.S. Born/3% Foreign born)
o Somewhat agree: 9% (9% U.S. Born/9% Foreign born)
o Somewhat disagree: 19% (17% U.S. Born/21% Foreign born)
o Strongly disagree: 63% (62% U.S. Born/65% Foreign born)

• Now we would like to know your reaction to different statements. After each pair of statements, please tell me which comes closer to your way of thinking. First two statements: 1)Politics is more about economic issues such as jobs, taxes, gas prices, and the minimum wage; 2) Politics is more about moral issues such as abortion, family values, and same sex marriage.

o Economic issues: 75% (76% U.S. Born/75% Foreign born)
o Moral issues: 14% (11% U.S. Born/16% Foreign born)
o Both: 7% (7% U.S. Born/7% Foreign born)
o Neither/something else: 1% (2% U.S. Born/1% Foreign born)
o Don’t know: 2% (3% U.S. Born/1% Foreign born)

• How about: 1) Churches or religious leaders should provide assistance to undocumented immigrants even if providing such help is against the law in some states; 2) Churches have a responsibility to follow the law, so they should not provide assistance to undocumented immigrants.

o Churches should help illegal immigrants: 66% (75% U.S. Born/56% Foreign born)
o Churches should not help illegal immigrants: 21% (14% U.S. Born/28% Foreign born)
o Both: 2% (3% U.S. Born/2% Foreign born)
o Neither/something else: 4% (2% U.S. Born/6% Foreign born)
o Don’t know: 6% (5% U.S. Born/7% Foreign born)

• Apart from occasional weddings, baptisms, or funerals, how often do you attend church or religious services? Is it once a week or more, almost every week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, once a year or less or never?

o Once a week or more: 27% (25% U.S. Born/26% Foreign born)
o Almost every week: 19% (28% U.S. Born/11% Foreign born)
o Once or twice a month: 13% (16% U.S. Born/11% Foreign born)
o A few times a year: 18% (14% U.S. Born/22% Foreign born)
o Once a year or less: 6% (3% U.S. Born/10% Foreign born)
o Never: 12% (8% U.S. Born/16% Foreign born)

• Regardless of how often you attend church, would you say religion provides a great deal, quite a bit, some, or no guidance at all in your day-to-day living?

o A great deal: 33% (29% U.S. Born/35% Foreign born)
o Quite a bit: 27% (29% U.S. Born/23% Foreign born)
o Some: 24% (23% U.S. Born/26% Foreign born)
o No guidance at all: 9% (9% U.S. Born/11% Foreign born)
o Don’t know: 6% (11% U.S. Born/5% Foreign born)

• Do you consider yourself a born-again, spirit-filled Christian or involved in the
charismatic movement?

o Yes: 39% (36% U.S. Born/28% Foreign born)
o No: 53% (51% U.S. Born/66% Foreign born)

• Do you happen to know President Barack Obama’s religion? Just tell me what you think his religion is.

o Protestant: 11% (9% U.S. Born/13% Foreign born)
o Roman Catholic: 7% (12% U.S. Born/3% Foreign born)
o Jewish: 0% (0% U.S. Born/0% Foreign born)
o Mormon: 1% (1% U.S. Born/1% Foreign born)
o Islam/Muslim: 12% (11% U.S. Born/13% Foreign born)
o Other religion: 18% (12% U.S. Born/23% Foreign born)
o No religion, not a believer, atheist, agnostic: 1% (1% U.S. Born/2% Foreign born)
o Don’t know: 48% (52% U.S. Born/43% Foreign born)

• And how about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney? Just tell me what you think his religion is.

o Protestant: 5% (4% U.S. Born/6% Foreign born)
o Roman Catholic: 4% (6% U.S. Born/3% Foreign born)
o Jewish: 0% (0% U.S. Born/0% Foreign born)
o Mormon: 25% (22% U.S. Born/29% Foreign born)
o Islam/Muslim: 0% (0% U.S. Born/1% Foreign born)
o Other religion: 5% (3% U.S. Born/7% Foreign born)
o No religion, not a believer, atheist, agnostic: 1% (0% U.S. Born/1% Foreign born)
o Don’t know: 58% (62% U.S. Born/53% Foreign born)


Methodology

Latino Decisions surveyed 500 registered voters during November 2011 in 21 states with the largest Hispanic populations, comprising 94% percent of the US Hispanic electorate. Voters were selected randomly from the registered voter lists and households were identified for contact using the Census Bureau Hispanic surname list, and merged with third party data to secure telephone numbers. Results were weighted to account for minor deviations from known population characteristics. The margin of error is +/- 4.38% on the full sample.

Voter registration status and Hispanic identification were verified upon contact with respondents, who confirmed if they are registered to vote and of Hispanic/Latino descent. Census Bureau reports suggest approximately 90% of all Latinos in the U.S. have a Spanish-surname. In identifying citizens registered to vote, the registered voter list is far superior to either a simple RDD or household list of Spanish-surname households because of non-citizenship, low rates of voter registration among Latinos, and well-documented propensity of all survey respondents, regardless of ethnicity, to over-report registration status.

Surveying was conducted by fully bilingual interviewers. Respondents were greeted in both languages, and surveys were conducted in either English or Spanish, at the discretion of the respondent. Up to five callbacks are scheduled for each record. The survey instrument was created by Dr. Matt Barreto and Dr. Gary Segura in consultation with impreMedia and translated into Spanish. The survey was administered under the direction of Pacific Market Research, in Renton, Washington, and performed using a Computer-Assisted-Telephone-Interviewing (CATI) protocols. CATI programming is performed by Pacific Market Research. Average interview length was 11.43 minutes.