WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Evangelical Latinos are supporting President Trump, while support from Latino Catholics lags far behind.
A recent survey by Claremont McKenna College, described as the "largest Latino religion and politics survey in this election season," is showing that Trump support among Latinos is growing thanks to Hispanic Evangelicals.
The results show that U.S. Latino support for Trump has grown from 26% to 30% owing to Evangelicals. The results more specifically showed that 48% of Evangelical Latinos are behind Trump, compared to only 46% who are leaning toward presidential hopeful Joe Biden. On the contrary, a whopping 67% of Catholic Latinos are backing Biden with only 25% saying they'll vote for Trump.
And Trump's support among the Hispanic community is growing, according to Gastón Espinosa, the Arthur V. Stoughton Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College.
"Based on Trump's favorability rating, the fact that conservatives underreport, and that a high percentage of independent and undecided voters nationwide are born-again Christians, Trump may end up taking 31—34% of the U.S. Latino vote — though probably around 32–33%," estimated Espinosa.
This bodes well for Trump, who was able to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 with only 19% of Catholic Hispanics behind him.
In battleground states, Trump is doing even better. The Claremont poll showed the president taking 41% of the Latino vote in Florida, 38% in Nevada as well as 35% in both Texas and Georgia.
Espinosa sized up the impact that non-Catholic Latinos could have in the key swing state of Florida:
Florida could determine who wins the White House and Latino voters will certainly play a big role. The nation's 18 million Latino Protestant and other Christian voters — which are much more likely than Catholics to possibly vote Republican — could also have a real impact on the election because many are undecided and have a history of swinging over and voting Republican, like they did (44%) for George W. Bush in 2004.
The college in September polled 1,292 Latinos, which makes it the largest survey to identify political leaning with both Hispanic ethnicity and religious affiliation. The survey contacted 823 Latino Catholics along with 453 Christian Latinos who self-identified as either Protestant or some other Christian denomination.
The survey reported that the most important issues for Latino Christians were the economy, COVID-19 and "stopping racial violence." The report also showed that Hispanics were pro-life with only 28% of Latino Christian voters saying abortion should be "generally available." This comes as Trump, who is widely considered to be the most pro-life president in U.S. history squares off against Biden and Kamala Harris, touted as the most anti-life ticket in U.S. history.
Father James Altman of the diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin in August condemned the notion that Catholics of any ethnicity could vote for pro-abortion Democrats:
Here's a memo to clueless baptized Catholics out there. You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat — period. Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches. So just quit pretending you're Catholic and vote Democrat. Repent of your support of that party and its platform or face the fires of Hell.
While the majority of Catholic Latinos are still backing the pro-death Democrat ticket, they're a dying breed. The poll found that the number of Latinos who still identify as Catholic has fallen from 70% in 2006 to 54% today.