Hispanics slowly changing face of Catholic vote

.- A story published in Sunday’s edition of the on-line magazine, ‘The Window’, shows that the results of last November’s presidential election were heavily influenced by the U.S.’s growing Hispanic-Catholic vote.

The article cites Steve Wagner, a public opinion researcher, who found that affinity for the Republican Party has slowly grown in the traditionally democratic Hispanic community since 2000’s election.

Wagner noted current trends, which show that the Hispanic-Catholic vote is becoming a formidable influence on the overall Catholic vote.

In November, President Bush won 52 percent of the overall Catholic vote and although his numbers dropped among Hispanics in some western states like California, Oregon and Texas, in others like Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, he gained 10, 5 and 9 percent increases, respectively.

Wagner also noted that the appeal of a George Bush presidency among Hispanic-Catholics grew from 30 percent in 2000 to 39 percent in 2004. Likewise, John Kerry received a full 9 percent fewer Hispanic-Catholic votes last fall than did Al Gore in 2000, although he still maintained a narrow majority.

According to a recent study by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, by 2050, Hispanics are expected to make up 50 percent of the U.S. Catholic Church, and are already the largest minority group in the country.

Wagner, who thinks the trend of Hispanics moving toward the Republican party will continue to grow, added, "When the GOP does not present an anti-Hispanic, anti-immigrant face - when the GOP presidential candidate speaks of a welcoming society -- Hispanic voters are able to express their natural affinity for the GOP based on social and quality-of-life issues."


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