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Religion Not A Critical Factor for Latinos
National poll reveals that the economy and immigration are of greater importance than social values

LOS ANGELES, CA –December 8, 2011 – impreMedia, the leading Hispanic news and information company, announced today the results of a national tracking poll focused on religion and social values.

The survey was conducted by impreMedia and Latino Decisions between November and early December.  The poll revealed that a majority of Latino voters, 53%, stated that religion does not have an impact on their voting preference, while 40% of respondents indicated that it does have an impact.  However, when voters are broken down among parties, religion plays a much larger role for Latino Republicans, with 47% indicating that religion does make an impact on their electoral decisions.

When asked if the candidate’s religion had an impact on their vote, 55% of respondents said that it had no impact at all; compared to 43% who believed it does have an impact.

The results further indicate that social and moral values are not top priorities among Latino voters. Overwhelmingly 75% of respondents indicated that the economy, jobs and taxes are among the crucial issues that are important to them, while only 14% indicated social values issues such as abortion, family values and same sex marriage are important.

“These results make clear that this election will not be a referendum on moral issues even though much is being made about the religious beliefs of some of the leading candidates. Latinos continue to be overwhelmingly concerned about jobs, the economy and immigration,” said Monica Lozano, CEO of impreMedia. 

On the topic of immigration, the survey indicates a clear support for churches and religious leaders who support undocumented immigrants.  Sixty-six percent of Latino voters indicated that churches should help illegal immigrants, while 21% opposed. When the respondents are broken down between US born and foreign-born Latinos, the survey found that 75% of US born Latino citizens supported church assistance for undocumented immigrants while 56% of those that are foreign born supported the view.

These voters in general, want church and electoral politics separate, a majority of 63% indicated that no religious leader, minister or rabbi should tell them which candidate to vote for.

When asked about President Obama’s religion stance, 48% of Latino voters indicated that they did not know his religion. Fifty-eight percent of voters indicated the same response when asked about Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

"The data indicate quite clearly that religious preferences are not central to Latino evaluations of the candidates, or in the electoral arena.  Although Latino voters are quite religious, they are telling us that economic concerns and immigration concerns, and issues such as education and health care matter much more than social values." said Matt Barreto, Latino Decisions.

The survey further revealed that Latino voters have a vague view on Mormonism, with 58% indicated that they are not familiar, 27% are a little familiar and 13% are very familiar.  Mormonism is a topic that is likely to be relevant in the general election if Romney is the Republican nominee.

Forty percent of Latino voters stated that Mormonism is not a Christian religion, and 31% say that it is and 27% say that they do not know.  The results indicate that religion does not seem to have a determinant effect on the Latino vote. It is not clear if it could have a negative effect on Latino voters that are Republican or Independents. 

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