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Bush’s Hispanic Problem

June 29, 2004

A new poll from Catholics for a Free Choice shows more Hispanic Catholic support for John Kerry

WASHINGTON , DC —If one considers how Hispanic Catholics view the war and election issues ranging from taxes to abortion to stem cell research, it is clear that President Bush has a Hispanic problem.

Hispanic Catholics are more likely to support Senator John Kerry ( 47%) for president than Bush (30%). In a nationwide poll commissioned by Catholics for a Free Choice, Senator Kerry enjoys a wide margin over the president, especially among Hispanics born in the US (49% Kerry; 29% Bush) and those of Mexican descent (51% Kerry; 28% Bush). While Ralph Nader receives 2% of the entire Hispanic Catholic vote, twenty percent of Hispanic Catholics remain undecided.

According to polling data, the key to understanding how Hispanic Catholics will vote is their views on the war in Iraq. They are among the most likely Catholic voters to want the troops home within six months (54% compared to 45% of Catholics overall), and they express little confidence in Bush to resolve the situation ( 59% “not much” or “very little” confidence; compared to 46% of Catholic voters overall). Among Hispanic Catholic voters, women feel most strongly about bringing the troops home (59%).

Hispanic Catholic voters are also more likely to take positions on other issues that align more with Senator Kerry than President Bush:

  • Legalization of abortion (62% support; 36% oppose)
  • Allowing scientists to use stem cells obtained from very early human embryos in research (71% support; 25% oppose)
  • Canceling some of the federal tax cuts and using the money to protect Social Security and Medicare (82% support; 16% oppose)
  • Canceling some of the federal tax cuts and using the money to improve public education (80% support; 18% oppose)

The complete poll will be released Tuesday,July 13. It is the largest and most statistically significant poll available of Catholic opinions on 2004 election issues and recent actions of the US bishops. From June 2-10, 2004, prominent DC polling firm Belden Russonello and Stewart surveyed 2,239 Catholics, including 366 Hispanic Catholics. The survey had a ±5.2 percentage-point margin of error for Hispanics and a ±2.1 margin of error overall.

Catholics in Political Life: Challenges to Faith in Democracy is a project of Catholics for a Free Choice designed toreveal insights into the motivations of Catholic voters as they consider the choices in the presidential campaign and to analyze how Catholics respond to the role of the Catholic hierarchy in the elections. Tomorrow: the Hispanic Catholic vote and Bush’s Hispanic problem. To obtain a copy of the results, please contact Michelle Ringuette at (202) 986-6093.