John McCain Not Doing as Well With Hispanic Voters, Abortion Views Will Help

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain Not Doing as Well With Hispanic Voters, Abortion Views Will Help

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — New polling data shows John McCain is not faring as well with Hispanic voters as President Bush did in each of the last two elections. While Bush solidified his support with Hispanics with his evangelical outreach and focus on Hispanic concerns, McCain is trailing with the important voting group.

A new Pew Hispanic Center poll released on Thursday shows McCain getting the support of just 23 percent of Latinos.

That’s less than half of the 56 percent President Bush received in 2004 and much smaller than the 44 percent Bush got in 2000.

The Pew poll shows just one-third of Protestant or evangelical Hispanics plan to vote for McCain while 59 percent are behind pro-abortion rival Barack Obama. McCain also trails Obama by 50 percentage points among Catholic Hispanics.

Cortes, who leads the Christian group Nueva Esperanza tells Politico the reason McCain is doing worse is because the Republican Party has alienated Hispanics over the immigration issue.

“McCain’s problem is the problem of his party demonizing Hispanic people,” Cortes said. “His party demonized us. You can’t switch off the immigration rhetoric and think it will work. In the context of the immigration issue, Hispanics define the enemy as the Republican Party and you don’t erase that overnight."

“Bush didn’t have to overcome his party’s position on immigration and I think that’s the difference,” Cortes added.

One way McCain could improve his numbers among Hispanics is by emphasizing his pro-life views on abortion.

While a majority of Americans take a pro-life view on abortion, polls show Hispanics do so at a higher rate.

A September Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute poll found incoming Hispanics don’t have attachments to the Democratic Party and are pro-life on abortion.

In total, 83 percent of the Hispanics in the survey oppose abortion CHLI said and, even among liberals, 60% oppose abortion.

More specifically, 52 percent said they strongly opposed abortion and 28 percent said they were somewhat opposed to abortion. Only 15 percent said they support legal abortions.

Raimundo Rojas, the Hispanic outreach coordinator for the National Right to Life Committee, told that the poll validates what pro-life advocates have been saying for years about reaching out to Hispanic voters.

"Another poll, more statistics and numbers that prove yet again that Hispanics in general, are pro-life, pro-American, and very conservative on most social issues," he said.

"Yet nearly 50 percent of those polled felt that elected officials don’t care about them. This should serve as yet another wake up call to pro-life politicians and political parties who want to court Hispanics on their issues," Rojas explained.

"The pro-abortion movement has nothing to offer Hispanics but disdain, this poll shows that Latinos are open to social conservatism and that we value life," he told "Let’s hope the powers that be are listening and will act upon yet another recitation of statistics that show where Latinos lean politically."

Also, a July Gallup poll showed Hispanic Catholics who value religion are six percent less likely to back Obama over their less religious counterparts.

McCain’s campaign appears to understand the problem and he has been advertising on Hispanic television and radio for months whereas Obama’s camp just purchased its first Hispanic radio ad buy last week.

Reaching out to Latino voters can be a key to victory for pro-life candidates.

A post-election poll conducted by the University of Akron, showed that the abortion issue helped President Bush make considerable gains in the 2004 elections among Catholics and Hispanics.

According to the survey, some 63 percent of Hispanic Protestants supported Bush in 2004 compared with just 32 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, Latino Catholics gave Bush a 53 to 47 percent advantage over the Massachusetts senator, also an increase over Bush’s 2000 numbers.


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