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Report: Catholic Latinos favor Obama, but evangelical Latinos are split

Catholic and religiously unaffiliated Latinos overwhelming favor President Obama, while evangelicals are divided.
Catholic and religiously unaffiliated Latinos overwhelming favor President Obama, while evangelicals are divided.
Susan Valot/KPCC

Latinos' religion factors into how they identify politically and which presidential candidate they support, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Latino Catholics overwhelmingly support President Barack Obama, with 73 percent of those surveyed saying they favored his reelection. Latino evangelical Protestants, however, are somewhat split: 50 percent favor Obama, while 39 percent of those polled in the national survey said they supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

The most support for Obama came from Latinos who aren't religiously affiliated. Eighty-two percent of those who identified as unaffiliated said they favored Obama, while only seven percent said they favored Romney.

The report makes some interesting comparisons to where the political lines are drawn among non-Latino white Catholics and evangelicals. From the report:

White, non-Hispanic Catholics are much more evenly divided, with 47% in favor of Obama and 46% in favor of Romney (as of mid-September).

Hispanics who are not affiliated with a religion also are strongly in favor of Obama (82% Obama vs. 7% Romney). Among the religiously unaffiliated in the U.S. general public, roughly two-thirds favor Obama.

Hispanic evangelical Protestants are more narrowly divided, with half supporting Obama (50%) and about four-in-ten supporting Romney (39%). This is in contrast with white, non-Hispanic evangelical Protestant registered voters, among whom a solid majority supports Romney (74%). 

There are bigger overall religious-political divisions among non-Latino whites: While 71 percent of Latino Catholic registered voters identified as or lean toward the Democratic party, only 47 percent of non-Latino white Catholics do so; 46 percent of non-Latino white Catholics supported the Republican party in a mid-September poll. And non-Latino white evangelical Protestants lean much more toward the GOP than their evangelical Latino counterparts, 72-36 percent.

Latino registered voters altogether also heavily identified as or leaned toward the Democratic party (70 percent); only 22 percent identified or leaned toward the GOP.

The report also notes that for the first time since Pew began asking the question, more Latinos favor same-sex marriage than those who oppose it, 52-34 percent, reflecting a trend in the general population.

The entire report can be viewed here.