The latest Pew Research Center Religion & Public Life Project survey, published in September, finds that party identification among Catholics is strongly correlated with race and ethnicity.
While white Catholics are leaning more toward the Republican Party, at 53 percent, Hispanic Catholics are more than twice as likely to favor the Democrat Party, which has adopted abortion on demand and same-sex marriage, positions that are contrary to the teachings of the Church.
The survey’s outcomes suggest the potential for conflict since the U.S. Catholic bishops and Catholic Latino leaders have engaged in an aggressive push for amnesty for illegal immigrants, who come mostly from Latino countries, with one cited reason being a perception that Hispanic Catholics have the Catholic faith as the core of their identity.
As Breitbart News reported in August 2013, Manny Garcia-Tuñon, communications director for the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL), told members and bishops attending a conference, “Latino families tend to stay closer together; typically they don’t ‘move away’ or wander far from the nucleus unless it’s absolutely necessary. Faith, particularly our Catholic faith, is part of our core identity.”
Nevertheless, the Pew survey results show that Catholics in general are not as strongly wed to issues tied to faith beliefs, such as abortion and marriage, as are white evangelicals.
Among white Catholics, 53 percent of those surveyed said business providers should be required to provide wedding services to same-sex couples, even if they have religious objections, while 64 percent of Hispanic Catholics say the same businesses should be required to provide the services. Comparatively, 25 percent of white evangelicals believe businesses should be required to provide services to same-sex couples.
Additionally, the survey finds that 50 percent of white Catholics favor allowing same-sex marriages, with 38 percent opposed, and 55 percent of Hispanic Catholics favor such weddings, while 29 percent oppose.
White evangelicals oppose same-sex marriage 75 percent to 18 percent. Among black Protestants, 51 percent oppose same-sex weddings, while 36 percent are in favor.
White Catholics were more inclined to say that homosexual behavior is a sin, 47-44 percent, while more Hispanic Catholics said such behavior is not a sin, 56-38 percent. Among white evangelicals, 82 percent said homosexual behavior is a sin.
The Pew survey did not distinguish between white and Hispanic Catholics on whether abortion and same-sex marriage are “very important issues.” Of all Catholics, 48 percent believe abortion is a “very important” issue, and only 23 percent believe the issue of same-sex marriage is similarly important. Among white evangelicals, 61 percent view abortion as “very important,” while 46 percent see gay marriage in the same way.
Regarding whether abortion should be legal, white and Hispanic Catholics had similar outcomes, with 54 percent of white Catholics stating abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 52 percent of Hispanic Catholics stating the same. Among black Protestants, 56 percent said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 30 percent of white evangelicals said the same.
The survey finds that economy, health care, terrorism, and the budget are viewed as “very important” by at least 65 percent of all religious groups.
Combining all religious groups, immigration is seen as “very important” by 62 percent of those surveyed. Of white evangelicals, 74 percent believe immigration is “very important,” while 65 percent of Catholics see the issue similarly, though the phrase “very important” can be interpreted differently.
Regarding the size of the government, white Catholics favor a smaller government with fewer services, 61 percent to 33 percent, while the trend is reversed with Hispanic Catholics, who favor bigger government and more services, 72 to 25 percent.
The Pew survey also finds that 72 percent of white evangelical Protestants continue to identify primarily with the GOP, a three percent increase since 2010. At 84 percent, black Protestants continue to strongly favor the Democrat Party, though this number is a four percent decrease since 2010.
Jewish and religiously unaffiliated voters also continue to identify predominantly with the Democrat Party.
The Pew survey is based on telephone interviews conducted September 2-9, 2014, among a national sample of 2,002 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. (801 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,201 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 673 who had no landline.)