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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Polling » Poll of Hispanics shows GOP challenges go beyond immigration

Poll of Hispanics shows GOP challenges go beyond immigration

The Pew Hispanic Center released the results of a detailed poll on Hispanics across the country.

Some of the most interesting parts were about Hispanics’ political views.

The poll found that Hispanics tend to describe themselves as liberal at a higher clip than the American population at large.

As with all blockquotes, unless noted, from the Pew Hispanic Center poll:

However, Latinos are more likely than the general public to describe their views as liberal. Overall, 30% of Latino adults say this, while just 21% of all U.S. adults say the same.

That isn’t the only reason why Hispanics (or Latinos, more on this later) tend to vote for Democrats.

In the economic worldview of whether or not the government should provide services, such as Social Security and Medicare, Hispanics side with a larger government that provides more services instead of a smaller government that provides less services.

When it comes to the size of government, Hispanics are more likely than the general public to say they would rather have a bigger government providing more services than a smaller government with fewer services. Some 75% of Hispanics say this, while 19% say they would rather have a smaller government with fewer services. By contrast, just 41% of the general U.S. public say they want a bigger government, while nearly half (48%) say they want a smaller government.

See the image at the top left for the visual breakdown of this question.

It isn’t just about immigration — it is that a large portion of Hispanics fundamentally disagree with the Republican Party on the issues.

Except for one hot-button issue — abortion. This is the one issue that Hispanics tend to lean conservative on, with 51 percent of adult Hispanics believing abortion should be illegal in most or all cases with 43 percent disagreeing. This is driven by the more conservative immigrant Hispanics.

Nearly six-in-ten (58%) immigrant Hispanics say abortion should mainly be illegal. By contrast, just 40% of second-generation Hispanics and 43% of third-generation Hispanics say abortion should be mainly illegal. The views of second- and third-generation Hispanics closely match those of the general U.S. public.

When it comes to views on homosexuality, Hispanics tend to have a liberal view. The poll finds that a majority of Hispanics believe that homosexuality should be accepted. And, like all the questions on the poll, the breakdown changes by generation.

Views on homosexuality vary somewhat by immigrant generation. Just over half (53%) of immigrant Hispanics say homosexuality should be accepted. Among second-generation Hispanics, this share rises to 68%. Among third-generation Hispanics, it is 63%.

What to call Hispanics

The issue of identity, or rather expression of identity, for Hispanics is an interesting one.

The federal government uses the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino.” The Associated Press style book has this passage under Hispanic:

A person from — or whose ancestors were from — a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino and Latina are sometimes preferred. Follow the person’s preference. Use a more specific identification when possible, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican-American.

Which leads to the obvious question — what is the preference? Well, for most it is their family’s country of origin, as the figure below shows.
With this information in hand, it is unsurprising to see that a large majority of Hispanics believe that there is no such thing as a shared Hispanic or Latino culture. That is, that Cubans in Florida do not have the same culture as Puerto Ricans in New York or Mexican-Americans in New Mexico.

“When asked whether Latinos in the U.S. share a common culture, just 29 percent of Latinos agree,” the Pew report stated. “Fully 69 percent say Latinos in the U.S. have many different cultures.”

This is a cautionary tale for the thinking that placing a Hispanic on the ballot will necessarily engender a sense of kinship from Hispanics or Latinos across the country.

The whole poll is an interesting read. The poll is of 1,220 Latino respondents ages 18 and older, from November 9 through December 7, 2011 and the polls were conducted by telephone. Results on the whole sample have a margin of error of 3.6 percent; questions of the subgroups have a larger margin of error.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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