Same-Sex Marriage Support Has Grown Among Latinos, Survey Finds
By FERNANDA SANTOS
More than half of the nationâs Latinos are in favor of same-sex marriage, according to a survey released on Thursday, dispelling a long-standing notion that their religious beliefs offered a safe path to Republicans looking to stake a claim in the community through shared social values.
Just six years ago, 56 percent of Latinos were against same-sex marriage. Today, their rate of approval stands at 52 percent over all and slightly higher 54 percent among Latino Catholics, the survey by the Pew Research Center found.
Latino evangelicals, on the other hand, remain strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, affirming their conservative credentials in a demographic group whose politics and positions, liberal and conservative, have become more in line with Americans over all. Partisanship among Latinos continued to be lopsided: 70 percent identified themselves as Democrats or leaning toward the Democratic Party. (The survey found 51 percent of the electorate over all identified as Democrat or leaning Democrat.) Latino registered voters Catholics, Protestants and those who are not linked to a particular religion support President Obama over his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, by a 3-to-1 ratio, even as support for the candidates among the general electorate is more balanced, according to the survey released Thursday morning.
Only 39 percent of Latino evangelicals, a more receptive constituency to Republicans candidates, back Mr. Romney. That number is far below the support he gets from white, non-Hispanic evangelical registered voters 74 percent.
Support for Mr. Obama is weaker among Latinos who attend religious services at least once a week, the survey found.
In the houses of worship they frequent, about half of them reported hearing clergy speak out about abortion, about 4 in 10 reported clergy speaking out about immigration, homosexuality and, to a lesser extent, the candidates and the elections. Catholics said they were more likely to hear their priests talk about immigration, though, while evangelicals said their pastors spoke most frequently about homosexuality.
The survey sought to explore the connections between religion and politics among Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the nationâs population. Roughly 24 million of them are eligible to vote today, accounting for 14 percent of the electorate in Colorado, Florida and Nevada, key battleground states. (They make up 11 percent of the electorate over all.)
The survey was carried out by telephone, in English and Spanish, among 1,765 Latinos across the country, including 903 registered voters from Sept. 4 to Oct. 7, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.