Latinos and the Culture War

Evangelicalism is the most potent worldview force in conservatizing Latino political attitudes, with secularity and Catholicism influential to a lesser degree as well.

From a newly published piece (gated; ungated) by Troy Gibson and Christopher Hare.  Here’s a table from the article, showing the predicted probability of being a Democrat, independent, or Republican for Latinos of different religious persuasions and generations:


There is a fairly substantial difference between Evangelicals and both committed Catholics (those who attend Mass at least once a week) and secular Latinos.  This parallels a similar difference among whites.  In these data Evangelical Catholics make up about 24% of the sample, committed Catholics 23%, and seculars 13%—with the rest being mainly Catholics who attend mass less frequently or Protestants.

Another interesting finding:

Latino Catholicism, despite its distinctiveness, has not “spilled over” into substantially altering the political behavior of its adherents in a direction either closer to or away from Vatican teachings. Despite an added emphasis on social justice issues within Latino Catholicism, our models found no significant relationship between religiosity and support for universal health care, collective responsibility, the death penalty, or the Iraq War for committed Catholic Latinos (although Latinos who were members of the Vatican II and pre-Vatican II generations were more likely to oppose the death penalty, in line with Church teachings).

More in the article.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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John Sides

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.