The Big Shift: Latino Evangelical Voters

By Allison Johnson 11-13-2008

In 2004, Latino evangelicals represented about one-third of the Hispanic electorate and 63 percent voted for Bush-the first time on record that a Republican presidential candidate won the Latino evangelical vote. They are now credited for shifting key states like Colorado and Florida in favor of the Democratic Party this election year. In 2008, we saw that Latino evangelicals are not only concerned with traditional family values like gay marriage and abortion in their communities, but also immigration.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was interviewed by the Dallas Morning News on how the GOP lost their vote, and what they can do to regain their support. As the reporter wrote,

Immigration, and immigration only, cost Republicans [the Latino evangelical vote]. The Pat Buchanans drove Latino evangelicals away with scary rhetoric about immigration during Congress' recent debates on the subject.

Republicans can win back Latino evangelicals by acknowledging the need to diversify. And the diversification applies to more than Latinos. The party should 'vertically realign,' he said, by reaching out to younger voters, Asian Americans, and African Americans.

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