Like true swing voters, Hispanic Protestants do not fit into traditional political categories on hot-button issues.
But a new survey shows that when the dust settles, most of them will likely be standing on Barack Obama's side of the fence.
Hispanic Protestants lean conservative on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage, but lean more liberal on immigration and the economy. Although 63 percent of them voted for President Bush in 2004, only a third say they support John McCain, according to a survey conducted by SDR Consulting in Atlanta.
"The shift is a direct result of the immigration-reform debacle," said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). "Immigration is a profoundly religious issue for Hispanic evangelicals."
Hispanics represent the largest minority group in the United States, and 9.2 million — or one-third of them — are Protestant. Three out of four survey respondents considered abortion extremely or very important to their vote, while 71 percent of them said the same thing about immigration reform. Slightly more than half —56 percent—said gay marriage was extremely or very important in their voting.
"Abortion is still probably the primary concern, with immigration not too far behind," said Rodriguez, whose group co-sponsored the survey. "Sen. Obama continues to repeat abortion reduction. That continues to resonate with Latino Protestants."
Eighty percent of the Hispanic Protestant survey respondents identified themselves as born again or attend an evangelical denomination in the telephone poll conducted October 1 to October 7. The poll found that 65 percent of Hispanic Protestants support Obama's plan for immigration reform while 23 ...