WASHINGTON, July 28, 2004 ( – A Presidential candidate looking to capture the Latino vote will do slightly better to be pro-life in 2004, and likely much better in the future, according to a survey released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation – both groups which are known to support abortion.  “The 2004 National Survey of Latinos: Politics and Civic Participation,” conducted by telephone from April 21, 2004 to June 9, 2004 among a nationally representative sample of 2,288 Latino respondents, including 1,166 registered voters, examines the views of Latino registered voters on a range of issues and concerns that are subject of debate in the current political campaign.  Hispanics, the biggest minority group in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are a significant pool of voters in states such as New Mexico and Florida that will be battlegrounds for the presidential election. Both parties are actively courting Hispanics as an important voting bloc in the upcoming presidential election.  On abortion, the Latino vote will slightly favour a pro-life politician over a pro-abortion one.  While the survey reports that 49% of Latino registered voters are supportive of abortion and only 44% oppose it, the number of those for whom abortion would be a deciding factor for or against a candidate is higher for pro-life Latino voters, tipping the scales in favour of pro-life candidates.

The survey results posted on the Kaiser website did not provide a breakdown indicating for which group – those opposing or those in favour of abortion – abortion would be a deciding factor electing a candidate.  However, on request from that breakdown was released.  The breakdown indicates that 9.2% of registered Latino voters would not vote for a pro-abortion candidate while 8.9% would not vote for a pro-life candidate.  While the numbers are too close to be statistically significant, the survey indicates that the trend will continue in favour of the pro-life vote.  The survey which looked both at registered Latino registered voters and Latinos in the U.S. who were not yet citizens and thus not yet registered voters, noted stark differences between the two groups.  Only a third ( 34%) of non-citizen Latinos believe that abortion should be legal compared to half ( 49%) of Latino registered voters. More than a third ( 38%) of non-citizen Latinos believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases compared to less than a quarter (23%) of Latino registered voters.  Even though the survey (after the breakdown) indicates a slight advantage for pro-life politicians and a forthcoming greater advantage, Latin American experts questioned the results of the survey.  Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, Associate Director of the Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs of the United States Bishops conference told “I am surprised to hear that Hispanics are more pro-choice than not.”  He noted that while many Hispanics may be burdened by concerns around education and economics, many, especially Catholics would be “very uncomfortable with abortion.”  Martha Fernandez-Sardina, a U.S. citizen of Latin American heritage, also questioned the numbers on the survey.  Nonetheless, Fernandez-Sardina, the former Director of the Office of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Washington told that the increasingly pro-life trend of Latino voters would continue.  “With Hispanics who have been here for many years becoming citizens and their children coming of age where they can vote, the numbers of Latino voters will increase.”

See the Kaiser website survey results:   jhw